Home > Uncategorized > Water Warfare- to the Last Drop

Water Warfare- to the Last Drop

image from timesofmalta.com

Gold, diamonds, oil, and platinum- the world’s most valuable commodities, right? Yes, with one major exception. We often forget that the commodity necessary for life, water, is both finite and invaluable. According to the World Health Organization, the lack of water to meet daily needs is a reality today for one in three people around the world. This problem is getting worse as the world population grows, the pace of urbanization increases, and agriculture, industry, and households require more water. Almost one fifth of the world’s population (about 1.2 billion people) live in areas where water is physically scarce. Non-profit organizations, conservation movements, and multinational firms are striving to become more active in protecting the world’s most valuable resource.

Worldwide, agriculture accounts for 70% of water usage, industry for 22%, and domestic usage for 8%. Therefore, it makes sense that the most focus should be on increasing agricultural efficiency. Agricultural endeavors like corn ethanol production, which use vast amounts of water, should be reconsidered. Instead of merely educating the public about conserving their water usage, consumers should be educated about the difference they can make by changing their purchasing behavior. For example, the production of beef requires much more water than chicken, peanuts much more than soybeans, and orange juice much more than tea. Multinational companies could be instrumental in this type of campaign. The cost would be low and the benefits high, as the companies would increase their socially-responsible images and potentially lower their costs of producing more water-intensive products.

Beginning in 1999, Coca Cola came under intense scrutiny when it was accused of aggravating an Indian state’s water scarcity situation. Coke products were protested and the company eventually left the Indian state called Kerala in 2004. Since then, companies like Nestle and Coca Cola have publicized their commitments to water sustainability. Coca Cola already partners with the WWF in its water conservation efforts. Federal governments, green movements, and firms have a responsibility to join in the dialogue- before it’s too late.

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