884 million people lack access to clean drinking water. 2.6 billion people do not have a clean toilet. In Africa, 4,000 children die every day from diarrhea caused by contaminated water and poor hygiene. But water is not just a problem in developing countries: ‘The future of business and society depend on the sustainability of Earth's water resources.’
As much as 80% of the global population lives in an area with a high water scarcity risk. And this risk continues to rise because the world’s population increases, consumption increases, production increases leading to an even bigger need for water. A lack of water combined with climate change leads to global risks in the area of food production too. This is not a doomsday scenario but a fact.
Fortunately, technology develops bringing new, innovative solutions as UTEC (University of Engineering and Technology) shows in a suburb of Lima, Peru. A lack of clean drinking water is addressed by placing a high-tech billboard. This billboard contains a processing system and special tanks to convert the high humidity of the air (98%) into water. As a result, hundreds of families now have access to clean drinking water.
This billboard is synonymous with a wide range of smart solutions at the local level. The Guardian described it as follows: ‘We build one dam at a time, instead of planning for the whole basin’. And although local initiatives are valuable, it is not enough: we need international solutions on a global scale.
This insight now also reached the European Union. With the report Towards Efficient use of water resources in Europe the European Environment Agency (EEA) advocates 'integrated water management, starting with better implementation of existing legislation’. ‘In many parts of Europe, water resources are under pressure and this will only get worse,’ said executive director Jacqueline McGlad. The report states that water conservation is often easily achieved. By increasing efficiency in the agriculture for example, as much as 25% of the water can be saved. For public water use even as much as 50%. It starts with clear policies, with an eye for a sustainable natural environment.
Whether you like it or not: water scarcity is a circumstance you sooner or later have to deal with. Smart entrepreneurs are prepared and anticipate: ‘Success will be determined by the extend to which a company can effectively analyze its situation and bring resources to bear.’
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