Water is an essential resource for life on Earth, every living organism needs it to thrive. Such an indispensable commodity shouldn’t be denied to anyone or anything, we all agree. Some also go further to suggest it should be free or ‘less expensive than what we pay now’.
From another perspective, food and energy are essential as well for our communities to exist and we pay royally to obtain them. Especially in the current economic situation with inflation causing food prices to rise and the energy crisis causing energy bills to reach extraordinary proportions.
“Should we shift our viewpoint from cheap and free water towards a socially acceptable willingness to pay, representing the value it has in our ecosystem?”
Almost all projects on sustainable water management would pay itself back in limited time. New ways of thinking are needed to solve the water crisis. We can’t expect a cheap resource that is increasingly scarce and which causes severe collateral damage when not available or in times of extreme rainfall. Money must be put on the table to implement the necessary measures, either by
Increasing or changing the water tariff can act as a deterrent for wasteful water use and incentivize measures to create circular water loops to save this precious resource. However, care must be taken that everyone can afford the water. Social structures and tarriffs could be set up to protect those with limited financial means, because as a society we have the responsibility to take care of those in need.
Numbers don’t lie, recent years are among the driest and hottest ever encountered in Belgium and Europe and things are not going to improve any time soon. The current drought could even be the worst in 500 years in Europe. We’re facing tremendous costs that are not factored in the price of water.
The agricultural sector experiences diminished crop yield (20-25% in Flanders) due to low water availability. Heatwaves, droughts and wildfires become more and more frequent in Europe, resulting in never before seen scenarios of impacted regions. This summer, almost half of Europe is experiencing droughts of historic proportions, with raging wildfires, economic losses, rivers running dry, fish dying, people suffering physically and mentally from the heat,…
Flanders is a good example in battling drought by launching and executing the Blue Deal, a dedication to launch initiatives that prevent water scarcity. However, this doesn’t always work out efficiently, as experts sometimes disagree on measures to be taken against drought. In times where the rainfall deficit reaches historical levels, a strong policy with strict, proactive and long-term actions is essential!
Some actions we believe should be priority, besides reviewing the willingness to pay:
BOSAQ actively works together with governmental and industrial stakeholders to battle water scarcity and has experts available to help any organization diminish water use, install water reuse and communicate these efforts to maximize return.