How is Technological Innovation Affecting the Water Sector?
Fresh water is a finite resource.
Only 3% of the water on the planet is freshwater, and less than 1% of this is ready for human use.
Yet, of this small amount available for use, we use over 10 billion tons of water daily.
Our demand for water is only growing; it’s estimated that by 2050, our demand for water will grow by another one-third. With 1.4 billion people already living in areas that are running out of water, our need to reduce our overall water consumption is vital.
The good news is, water sector technological innovation is working to prevent a global water crisis.
What are some of the water challenges we currently face?
Demand outpacing supply of water is one of our main water concerns, but other challenges are exacerbating this issue.
Production and manufacturing use large amounts of water for many of our commonly used items. For example, manufacturing a car uses 67,500 litres, a smart phone uses 12,100 litres, and one t-shirt uses 2,500 litres. Many of our staple food products also use large amounts of water. 1 kilogram of coffee beans uses 21,000 litres, 1 kilogram of chocolate uses 24,000 litres, and 1 kilogram of beef uses 15,500 litres. Together, global water use, storage and distribution – and the lack of wastewater treatment – contributes 10% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Climate change is also affecting our water supply. With weather patterns changing, we are experiencing more extreme weather patterns such as droughts and wildfires, which is contaminating or using up our water supply.
Improving our water conditions are important to both reducing GHGs, and providing water to billions of people.
How can technological innovation help the situation?
There are multiple sectors across the supply chain that can be improved to reduce our overall water usage. During the process, we can work to improve:
Repairing/replacing ageing infrastructure
Logistics and distribution
Monitoring water usage
Monitoring water usage alone can have a large impact, both on the environment and fiscally. Some $301 billion of business value is at risk because of water stewardship challenges, yet it would take corporations just $55 billion to deliver appropriate mitigation and adaptation initiatives. Beyond risk management, there are an estimated $711 billion US dollars in business opportunities when investing in water security.
What steps are big businesses taking?
Some big businesses are stepping up their goals for decreasing water usage – in the 2020 CDP Global Water Report, major players such as Ford and L’Oreal reported reaching net zero withdrawals by replenishing the water they withdrew. Others, such as Mars and Samsung, are increasing investments into innovations that reduce water usage.
However, overall, the CDP report shows that only 4.4% of businesses are reporting progress against water pollution reduction targets.
In conclusion, taking action on water risks through water sector technological innovation is essential for climate action, and it makes business sense. It can stimulate economic development and create jobs. Implementing a water risk mitigation solution is a great way to begin the process of taking action on water in your business. Contact us today to learn more!
Your Connected Sensors Team