Large-scale land acquisitions really took off in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008, as wealthier countries tried to ensure their food security by leasing and buying land elsewhere, much of it in sub-Saharan Africa. Most of those agreements, however, neglected water; water that fell on the land, water under the land, water to grow crops. A large study by Tim Williams, Director for Africa at the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), says that lease agreements really need to consider water rights.
Another kind of water right -- the right of people to water for the crops they plant and eat -- was part of a report on Water for Food Security and Nutrition, prepared by the High-Level Panel of Experts for the UN's Committee on World Food Security. Alan Nicol, theme leader on Governance, Gender and Poverty at IWMI, was one of the reviewers of a draft of the report.
Both Tim Williams and Alan Nicol discussed their work at World Water Week in Stockholm, where they spoke to the Thrive podcast about water rights.