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WRI Water Program Director Betsy Otto knows the world should be worried about water: Her team's research showed this year that one-quarter of the world's population lives in extreme water stress. In this conversation, though, she talks about the solutions—technological, political, and managerial—that can alleviate the strain.

While the average person drinks 2 to 4 liters of water a day, it requires an astonishing 2,000 to 5,000 liters of water to produce the food that the average person eats each day! Here are five ways companies, farmers and consumers can lessen the food system’s impact on water.

While more than one-third of China still suffers from high water stress, there are signs of improvement: New WRI analysis shows that the rate of increase in the country's water withdrawals has slowed from 5.1 billion cubic meters per year in 2001-2010 to 1.6 billion cubic meters per year from 2010-2015.