In a world where water is readily available, it is hard to realize that without quality water, a country’s prosperity is at risk. In this article, I raise matters that speaks to two main audiences.
Firstly, to the citizens of the world as I suggest some changes that should take effect if our planet is to stay prosperous. I give a strong example about Belgium and secondly, I urge the strong need for political bodies to focus on the different challenges that are at our doorstep. Additionally, I will make recommendations in the hope that the world understands and adapts to a new way of behaving towards our future blue gold.
To that end, I encourage you to start reading this article and to react upon it. I encourage you to read it fully in order to understand the current challenges at-hand and to sense the suitable solutions to the current global water crisis we are facing.
The entire world is undergoing major changes. With many countries and cities suffering from water scarcity, water inequalities and at times poor sanitation, the situation is quickly escalating to a global water crisis.
While threatening each individual on the planet, the crisis also affects industries. I will mention here an article published by The telegraph, which reported that Vittel, the French village where the famous water brand is bottled, could no longer pump enough water out for production because of its limited availability.
Looking at the bigger picture, all factors are being inter-connected to the way we use and drink freshwater. For example: using freshwater for taking showers, flushing toilets, washing our cars but also the single-use plastic bottles. It should be no surprise that we suffer from an increasing environmental pollution progressively making freshwater unclean and becoming scarcer.
Consequently, it should be mandatory for the whole (bottled) water industry to focus on a sustainable approach focusing on adapted systems that are already in place to reduce environmental pollution but also for political bodies to implement sustainable water policies.
Almost 72% of our planet is covered by water. If we take into consideration that only 2.5% of this is freshwater, of which 70% is unprocurable for exploitation, we reach a water availability of barely 0.8% available water for human-use. It still is, however, a very huge amount of water availability in absolute numbers, but when considering the process of obtaining a 1kg steak (requiring 15,000L of water) it is not difficult to realize that water is to become the newest blue gold and that we need to find solutions to preserve it.
If we are to maintain a country’s prosperity, it will require everyone to get on board – emphasizing on decision-makers whom should give prompt attention to the water challenges facing agriculture, the industries and households.
As reported by the Allianz Global Wealth Report (2018), Belgium is the 5th country with the highest average net financial assets per capita (€93,580). With Belgium having the largest income equality in the world and with Flanders holding a GDP/capita of 40% higher than the one of Wallonia, we can say that Flanders is one of the most prosperous population in the world. An allegation that is not always recognized by my fellow Belgian citizens.
Consentaneously, an alarming statement made by the European Environment Agency announced that Belgium is now considered one of the highest water-stressed areas of Europe partly due to an abstract amount of factors. The main ones include;
Although these figures are alarming, they do not have to scare us as humans are very resourceful in finding solutions when major challenges arise. As a matter of fact, solutions do already exist…
Africa has been pioneering when investing in decentralized and sustainable solutions for its society. “The law of the handicap of a head-start” is how Africa operates – where those who invest later, learn from what the first could have done better and can therefore use a more efficient technology. A clear example is when looking at the telco and electricity industry, Africa had poorly invested in fixed-phone networks and large central power plants but on the other hand, focused on mobile networks and decentralized energy generation powered mostly by renewable energy sources. Another great example happened as early as 2008, Rwanda prohibited plastic bags and foil usage. The law of the handicap of a head-start is giving us the trigger to start re-circulating and re-using water.
Flanders is gradually following this trend. With many entrepreneurs aiming at developing young companies with a business plan focusing on sustainability. Start-ups are becoming the driving force behind the migration from wasting water to a circular economy where water use and water re-use are a focal point.
In-line with this movement, projects are set-up with the objective of building-up this circular water economy, in which water is purified locally and drinking water is produced from this very same water offering a sustainable solution for everyone. Even so, many people are not psychologically ready to implement such a process the same happens in nature only over a longer period of time.
The circular water story is technologically ready to take away many of the established values from bottled water companies but you might wonder what it means;
Although there are many uncertainties regarding our future, we can assume that if we do not take the necessary actions regarding water management policies, we face an even bigger challenge.
In order to overcome the current challenges, the world needs a change in mentality where water will be distributed more efficiently and where people are aware of its preciousness. This can be achieved by indulging everyone in having a different perception of the future: