[I]rrigation is not just about water; it’s not just about agriculture. It’s become intimately connected with energy and therefore greenhouse gas emissions as well.
Afreen Siddiqi, research scientist
An MIT team is providing new understanding of the growing interconnections among three critical resources: energy, water, and food. The work focuses on Pakistan’s Indus Basin, where irrigation water is increasingly pumped from underground, a practice that is intensifying a pre-existing shortage of energy. Using new and existing data plus statistical models, the researchers are clarifying how much pumping is going on, how it’s affecting energy use and food productivity, and where and why it’s happening in this region—home of the world’s largest contiguous network of river-fed irrigation canals.