The management of limited fresh water resources is a major challenge facing society in the 21st century. The agricultural sector accounts for more than two-thirds of human water withdrawal and is therefore a prime area to implement a more rational water use. Environmental stresses are a major factor limiting stable food production. Given the growing shortage of available water for crops this will be an emerging factor in international agricultural economy. The most environmentally friendly and durable solution to the problem of water shortage is to complement more efficient irrigation approaches with crops with optimal water use efficiency, achieved either through genetic engineering or conventional breeding, combined with high yields.