Nearly 70 percent of all fresh water use by humans is in agriculture. Water is a critical resource for all life, including the crops that help feed, fuel, and clothe us. So it’s increasingly important to optimize our water use and provide farmers with tools to increase water use efficiency, while also helping them adapt in times of water scarcity.
Monsanto is a member of the UN Global Compact CEO Water Mandate and has served on the Mandate’s Steering Committee – the initiative’s main governance entity, charged with strategic, administrative, and financial arrangements. The CEO Water Mandate is a public-private initiative designed to assist organizations in the development, implementation, and disclosure of water sustainability policies and practices.
We are committed to increasing irrigation water application efficiency across our global seed production footprint by 25 percent by 2020, compared to our 2010 baseline. This commitment, which includes our field operations, as well as on the contract farms that grow seed for our company’s products, presents an opportunity to save an estimated 30 to 80 billion gallons of water each year, depending upon precipitation.
To better understand how water availability might affect our operations and the surrounding communities and landscapes, we mapped water risks at all our facilities across the globe, using the World Resources Institute Aqueduct Map. Our facilities in high-risk areas developed action plans to mitigate water risks. Our global sites are also engaged in water reduction and recycling activities. For example, we’re moving research operations from fields into greenhouses, which allow us to reduce, capture, and reuse the water used to irrigate our crops. To learn more about how our global sites are reducing water, visit the Sustainability Report.
Water Projects Around the World
Water Utilization Learning Center
Our Water Utilization Learning Center in Nebraska is focused on researching water use in crops, so we can help farmers make the most of every drop of water.
Our vegetable seed team in Ica, Peru, diligently tracked water used in seed protection, and made adjustments to irrigate more efficiently. In 2013, this led to a total water savings of 17 million gallons — in desert conditions.
The AquaTEK program uses soil sensors to track moisture levels on Italian farms. As data are collected, we share information with farmers to help them grow crops more sustainably.
Water Efficient Maize for Africa
We partner with groups in Africa to share new tools with resource-poor farmers there. The Water Efficient Maize for Africa program is designed to develop seed that can help protect farmers' harvest in water-limited conditions.