This week GLOBE-Net's Top Ten looks at one of the world's most plentiful natural resources, yet a resource that is becoming increasingly scarce – Water.
GLOBE-Net, September 19, 2011 – This week GLOBE-Net’s Top Ten looks at one of the world’s most plentiful natural resources, yet a resource that is becoming increasingly scarce – Water.
It is indispensible to life, and because of growing demand for our finite supplies of freshwater, it is becoming one of the most important resource issues of the 21st Century.
Over the year’s GLOBE-Net has published a variety of articles exploring various dimensions of the challenges and opportunities that water presents to our society in general and to the global corporate community in particular, both today and over the next few decades.
Improving the supply of this critical resource is the first issue that must be addressed. Just last month the United Nations pointed out that Investing as little as 0.16% of the world’s gross domestic product – or $198bn per year- could give half a billion people regular access to safe drinking water within four years. (Secure drinking water access, urges UN).
This observation arose at the conclusion of this year’s Global Water Week (Global leaders to convene for World Water Week in Stockholm), politicians, business leaders, innovators, and representatives of international organizations met to discuss the challenges and opportunities of providing sufficient clean water for the world’s poorest people.
But it is not just the Third World that is feeling the impact of growing water shortages. A new report released by the Natural Resources Defence Council reveals climate change is leaving our cities highly vulnerable. (How will climate change affect cities? New look at vulnerable waterways for key U.S. cities.)
Many observers have asked Is Canada doing enough to conserve water? Given that most Canadians have “no concept” of the real value of water, according to a UN water expert. ( Three Quarters of Canadians Using Toilet as Garbage Can).
Around the world, agriculture, mining, and other resource-based water-intense industries are in direct competition with urban populations for access to water, and while this translates into huge potential business market ($1 Trillion Global Water Market Forecast for 2020), as noted by the Canadian Water Network (CWN), we need to do more to change people’s water use habits.
Certainly population growth is a major contributing factor to grow shortages of clean water. (Managing water shortages – the problem is people, not climate).
In an increasingly water-stressed world, technology can play a key role in conserving water. Greywater systems, which reuse high quality water normally disposed of after a single use, can help to reduce the demand for new water supply. (Pacific Institute Analyzes the Potential of Greywater Reuse in New Report).
But better water management and stronger governance is required to improve access for all. Ontario’s leadership in water protection is an example of how better governance of water is creating clean water jobs and strengthening local economies. (Ontario Water Opportunities and Water Conservation Act Passes).
But great strides are being made also by corporations large and small to reign in their demands for fresh water and to make best use of what is already available. (Water – The Golden Opportunity for Business).
Business leaders are discovering that more efficient water use is critical to long-term corporate success and sustainability.
Experts from government and the private sector will also address the challenges and opportunities the surround the issue of access to water, which the United Nations believes is a basic human right. (The Right to Water).
Source: GLOBE NET