Water scarcity is arguably a more serious issue than global warming, however measures to reduce water use is mostly overshadowed by efforts to reduce carbon emissions. While global warming clearly effects the entire globe, water scarcity is a more localized issue, with 60 percent of fresh water found in only 9 countries, making it more difficult to tackle the problem globally. Further, water is so inexpensive, especially regarding irrigation for farming, it is used very inefficiently. Indeed, farming uses the vast majority of water globally, so even with organizations such as Coca Cola, Nestle and Rio Tinto investing billions in water use reduction, the problem will persist.
“The marginal cost of water is rising around the world,” says Christopher Gasson, publisher of Global Water Intelligence. “Previously, water was treated as a free raw material. Now, companies are realising it can damage their brand, their credibility, their credit rating and their insurance costs. That applies to a computer chipmaker and a food company as much as a power generator or a petrochemicals company.”