Water: The Most Undervalued Resource

Wikipedia defines water as a substance whose molecule is composed of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen (H2O).2 It is a fairly common substance on Earth and the solar system, where it is found mainly in the form of steam or ice. It is essential for the origin and maintenance of life.

For that and many other things, we celebrate it worldwide every March 22nd. In the last 12 months, its proper use has become an effective tool to prevent the spread of COVID 19 with continuous hand washing and daily application of disinfectants in homes or offices.

Water means equity, determining whether a girl has access to education in the most remote country up to the distribution of wealth on a continent. Water establishes the economy. Its value is traded on Wall Street alongside gold and its lack of basic sanitation causes worldwide losses of $ 300 billion.

Its role in the functioning of the environment is not in dispute. Proper wastewater treatment minimizes greenhouse gas emissions and is the most renewable source of energy.

So why don’t we take proper care of it? Because we believe it is infinite. Nations rich in this resource are drowning in other global problems without realizing that water can be a great facilitator in solving these issues.

On an ever-growing planet, water must be managed wisely. Without water, we cannot grow food, develop industrial production or achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

As individuals, we can do a lot. Did you know that it takes 530 lbs of fossil fuel, 48 lbs of chemicals, and 1.5 tons of water to manufacture one computer and monitor, or that a cadmium rechargeable cell phone battery pollutes 600,000 liters of water?

At the governmental level, water must be established in the constitutions as a human right, an action that South Africa and Slovenia have already taken. Also, states can offer tax incentives to those citizens who spend less, financially reward those who use water better and go further by making it a facilitator to achieve the Paris Agreement.

As for companies, water is managed with institutional practices. Colgate-Palmolive has managed its water prices to pay more than it costs, Microsoft returns more water than it consumes, and DWS has an investment framework to transform water. The purpose is for each company to take measures of this type to be able to release cleaner water than the one that was drawn in the first place.

Valuing water implies fostering associations, such as 50L Home, a platform that cares about guaranteeing water for citizens and changing the narrative of its consumption in homes.

In a local approach, communities should sit at the table with private companies and develop water-use policies that benefit us all. Ensuring pure water for the consumption of each individual is everyone’s task.

Original source: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/03/water-how-to-stop-undervaluing-a-precious-resource-and-be-ready-for-the-future/


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