The next head of the Water for Food Institute at the University of Nebraska has a good familiarity with the organization. Dr. Peter McCornick says he visited Lincoln just before the Institute was formed to hear about the idea.
“I thought the vision at that time, the idea was very bold,” McCornick told reporters at the Institute’s annual conference. “I think what’s been really impressive is the leadership… the amount of support this institute has.”
McCornick says the Institute will continue to address the global need for more food while using water more efficiently.
He points out that the United States is doing a better job managing its resources than other parts of the world. McCornick says more wells have been dug in Nebraska recently, but less water is being used because of irrigation improvements, which is not the case in parts of China and India.
“You have major breadbaskets in China, in India that are hugely dependent on groundwater, but they’re actually over-pumping them, so it’s getting more expensive,” he says. “The countries may be subsidizing the electricity, but that’s not sustainable.”
McCornick is working on mapping water use and production in Africa to help farmers make better decisions.
He currently serves as the deputy director general for research at the International Water Management Institute. His first day at the Water for Food Institute is September 1, 2016.