Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute


Date of this Version


Document Type



The 2018 Annual Report is published by the Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute at the University of Nebraska.


One in nine people goes to bed hungry each night, according to the U.N. World Food Program. That’s 795 million people on the planet who do not have access to enough nutritious food. The challenge is growing. Global drivers like climate change, urbanization and increasing demand for water-intensive agricultural products are altering landscapes, increasing soil erosion, and degrading water resources and soils in important food producing regions around the world. We must figure out how to feed a global population projected to reach 10 billion by 2050, with the same amount of water and arable land – and quickly. This was the thinking behind the creation of the Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute at the University of Nebraska. Since 2010, the institute has drawn on expertise in Nebraska and elsewhere – including more than 110 multidisciplinary faculty fellows, 18 global fellows, visiting scholars and a wealth of external partners – to develop technologies, practices and policy solutions to address one of the most urgent challenges of our time. As you’ll see in the following pages, with your help, we are making important progress. This year, the Institute convened a Water for Food International Forum on farmer-led irrigation held in partnership with the World Bank, the U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C. We also took a leadership role in the 8th World Water Forum in Brasilia, Brazil, where we co-organized the water for food security track in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and hosted a high-level panel on water for food. The institute developed innovations to advance water and food security, from cutting-edge research using drones to capture real-time crop moisture data, to smart water meters that inform farmers of the energy costs of irrigation. We have shared policy research and best practices, as shown in a new publication we co-authored with the Environmental Defense Fund that provides a toolbox of resources and case studies on water management solutions. And, we’re building capacity through educational opportunities for the next generation of water and food security leaders, like the master’s level Nebraska field study course we offer in partnership with IHE Delft, The Netherlands, to students from Nebraska and countries around the world. Particularly with a challenge of this scale, tangible impacts can take years to achieve. But we are proud that DWFI is making a difference through focused research, education, collaboration and communication. That progress is possible because of the generosity of the Robert B. Daugherty Foundation and other donors, the guidance of our board of directors, and the involvement of partners who share our vision for a water and food secure world – including the recently launched Irrigation Innovation Consortium, an important new partnership with the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, four other universities and key private sector companies. Thank you for helping to put dinner on the table for nearly 10 billion people by 2050.