SEI Contact:

Jennie Barron

Green Blue Water Initiative (GBI)

The Green Blue Water Initiative (GBI) programme looks at how to manage land and water resources in a more holistic way to meet human development and ecosystem requirements. The programme has a strong poverty reduction focus, looking at how to improve water management among the rural poor.

The GBI is a 10-year programme led by SEI together with Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) and partners including IWMI, IUCN, IFPRI and ASARECA.

The green-blue water framework defines green water as the soil water held in the unsaturated zone, formed by precipitation and available to plants, while blue water refers to water in rivers, lakes, wetlands and aquifers which can be withdrawn for irrigation and other human uses. Irrigated agriculture receives blue water through irrigation, as well as green water (from precipitation). Rain-fed agriculture receives only green water.

Research aims to put forward a new framework, showing how the integrated management and governance of green and blue water and land can
- improve productivity, food and water security;
- reduce poverty improve livelihoods; and
- contribute to environmental sustainability.

Key messages
- Green water dominates food production and virtual water trade globally.
- Blue water resources are being critically overexploited in an increasing number of basins and regions.
- There is significant potential for improving green and blue crop water productivity (CWP) and producing more food with less water.
- A wide range of management options exists along the green to blue water continuum, for achieving significant increases in water productivity and food production.
- A combined top-down and bottom-up approach will be required to fully assess the potentials and tradeoffs for these and other management options in different eco-hydrological and socio-economic contexts.

Download report SEI/SIWI publication “Rain, the Neglected Resource, Embracing Green Water Management Solutions (PDF, external link)

Funder: Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency

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