SANTA MONICA, Calif. – Water quality and availability is reaching critical levels and will continue to worsen if conservation measures are not adopted, according to the July issue of The Food Journal.

"Everyone in the food business also is in the water business as water scarcity affects the entire food chain," says Phil Lempert, editor and chief of The Food Journal. "Water is as important as feed and a lack of water can lead to an increase in corn, wheat and soy prices, which in turn raises the prices of chicken, pork and beef. There's a direct connection between water and food insecurity in America."

Agriculture accounts for 70 percent of fresh water withdrawals from rivers, lakes and aquifers – up to more than 90 percent in some developing countries. Ninety-seven percent of the Earth's water is in salty oceans and 2 percent is frozen. That leaves 1 percent for humans to maximize the benefits.

The annual requirement of water for food security is estimated at 264-528,000 gallons per person, according to a water study in collaboration with the Univ. of Sweden.