If global water consumption for irrigation increased by 48%, we would be able to feed an additional 2.8 billion people. The finding is from a new, University of California-led study.

The researchers found that sustainably expanding irrigation into cultivated areas which are currently rainfed would allow for a 37% increase in food production. It would also put us in the right track to achieve environmental goals.

To guarantee sustainability, this expansion would have to be based on an irrigation infrastructure that would take advantage of “green” water sources, like rainfall.

In addition to this measure, the researchers add, it would be important to adopt practices like improving nutrient supply through fertilizer application, switching to crops with higher productivity, or storing water from the rainy seasons for use in the dry seasons.

Watch: How this farmers’ cooperative saved 32% in water

Photo: Farcav Renovables