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Since humans abandoned their hunter gatherer methods and adopted agriculture to provide their food for them, agriculture has followed a path of ever increasing intensification. The use of natural and then later artificial fertilizers has lead to increased growth rates, higher density of crops, and subsequently higher water use per given area. To meet the demand for water as far back as 256BC large scale irrigation projects such as the Dujiangyan Irrigation System, China B

Now thousands of years later we are entrenched in a system whereby the amounts of food needed to support the human race would be impossible to produce without irrigation, and in many places the water supplies that have been taken for granted can no longer keep up with demand. As the world population more than tripled in the twentieth century, water use for human purposes grew six fold, with the bulk of that water going to irrigationI.