It is not a secret that the fashion industry is a water intensive activity, but have we ever thought of it as being the second most polluting industry? Indeed, the water use of one single cotton t-shirt uses as much water as any of us would need during three years, 2700 litres. The challenge begins with our closets, we all have more than one cotton t-shirt.
The more frequent extreme weather events force us to think in terms of resilience instead of mere risk prevention and management. Resilience implies a mind-set switch that goes beyond common disaster risk management.
Urban growth is one of the major factors affecting water scarcity. With the UN predicting that around 5 billion people – over half of the global population – could experience water shortages by 2050, it’s clear that something needs to be done to change the way we organize society and use water.
Falling regularly from the sky and surrounding us in waterways and underground reserves, water feels like it’s the most abundant and renewable resource of our planet.
Whether a trigger, weapon, or a casualty, water has played a major role in conflicts around the world. With climate change altering rainfall patterns and causing extended droughts all over the globe, disputes over water appear to remain a challenge for some regions. On the other hand, history has also witnessed water being the source of cooperation between nations.
Today’s society is characterized by being dynamic and fast-paced and the more we move towards the future, the more goods and resources we consume. Since water is present in the lifecycle of any products we consume, our footprint is growing bigger every year.
Moving to a more sustainable long-term model for managing water supplies is essential if we are to avert a future water crisis. However, many countries still lack access to even basic clean water. The World Bank estimates that the poorest countries need to spend around $150 billion a year just to deliver safe and clean water for all.
In this climate, is it realistic to expect countries to achieve water sustainability? Where do we stand regarding water sustainability at the moment and what can be done to improve the situation in the future?