RésEAU Brief series


​​​Download below the first RésEAU Brief on Water: the key to sustainable food systems globally

RésEAU Brief no1_Sept 2021.pdf


Dear colleagues

It is with great pleasure that we present the first edition of the RésEAU Brief series, a medium to share SDC's learnings from water related projects and programmes at the global level. This first edition focuses on the key role water plays in food systems across the globe.

Food systems are intricately connected to water

This is crystal clear in the use of water in irrigation for intensive cropping but is even more important for farmers solely dependent on rainfed agriculture, an ever-riskier endeavour in the face of changing rainfall patterns. But water also is flowing during food processing and packaging, through which the food processing industry affects

water quality. Global trade links far away production and consumption sites, and transports the  water embedded in our agricultural food stuffs, sometimes at high environmental costs. Competing demands over water between users in different shapes and sizes can bring sometimes barely stable situations into conflict leading to crisis in food security. Increasingly frequent and severe water related disasters can do the same. Our food systems are centre stage at the United Nations Food Systems Summit. And with all due right. We are less than a decade away from 2030, when the SDG 2 on zero hunger is to be reached, while at the same time progressing on other Sustainable Development Goals around health, water, climate and ecosystems. We need to work harder to transform the way the world produces, consumes and thinks about food.

In this RésEAU Brief, SDC staff and partners linked through the global network RésEAU and its regional sub-RésEAUs share their learnings from practice on the intricate relation between sustainable food systems and the water that sustains them. They contribute the solutions and key messages for policy makers and water managers. This Brief provides you with short glimpses on selected projects and programmes that contribute to su​stainable water and food systems, along with contacts and links for further reading. The projects contribute to boost nature-positive production, build resilience to vulnerabilities, shocks and stress, shift to sustainable consumption patterns, all action tracks in the Food Systems Summit.

A spotlight is placed on initiatives that reduce water pollution from (agro)-industry. The section on resources highlights recently published documents, particularly around the water footprint of our consumption. For a full range of resources, please refer to the respective site on ShareWeb, and keep up with sector news through our news site.

We would like to thank everybody who contributed to this first edition of the RésEAU Brief dedicated to Water and Food. We wish you happy reading!


Daniel Maselli

SDC RésEAU Focal Point, daniel.maselli@eda.admin.ch


Bernita Doornbos

Editor RésEAU Brief and backstopper to the RésEAU, bernita.doornbos@helvetas.org