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Water: the Next Energy Crisis

The wars of the twenty-first century will be fought over water.
- Ismail Serageldin, World Bank Vice President for Environmental Affairs

It is becoming widely accepted that water will be the ‘oil’ of the 21st century. But, unlike oil, the planet cannot survive without water. 

Water consumption is doubling every 25 years and in many regions around the world this resource is becoming very scarce.The world's potable water supply is at risk and the question is not whether there will be major water shortages, but rather when those shortages are going to have an impact worldwide.

Did you know..that London is actually drier than Istanbul? Or that the South East of England has less water available per person than the Sudan and Syria?

Water Scarcity in Ireland

In Ireland there has always been plenty of water available at little or no cost. This has changed since, and today parts of country – especially east and southeast – are experiencing growing concerns of water shortages, which is reflecting in the increasing water rates. The water courses have become increasingly polluted and require treatments, hence, investments in new systems and their maintenance imply increasing costs for local authorities to operate them. There are no water charges for domestic water use, but businesses are being charged for both the supply and treatment.
When the well is dry, we learn the worth of water
- Benjamin Franklin
The average increase in water rates in 2008 compared with 2005 was 72%. The highest increase in water rates in 2005-2008 was experiences in Co Waterford where rates have gone up 221%, Co Cavan – 184% and Co Kilkenny -198%. Co Wexford is the dearest county for water with rates as high as € 2.71 m3, while Glaway City Council is charging only € 0.99 m3. For full list of water rates 2005-2008 please click here
 
Source: Failte Ireland, 2008

Water to follow Carbon Footprints

We used to think that energy and water would be the critical issues for the next century. Now we think water will be the critical issue
- Mostafa Tolba, former head of the United Nations Environment Programme
An emerging concept of water footprinting has already gained much publicity. Water footprinting involves considering supply chains in terms of water consumption in the same way as they might be in terms of carbon emissions. This technique is young, and benchmarks are yet to be set.

Did you know .. that a tomato has about 13 litres of water ‘embedded’ in it, and a burger around 2,400 litres..It takes about 136 drops of water to produce one drop of tea, and about 1,100 drops of water to produce one drop of coffee

An organisation’s water footprint can be thought of as its ‘direct’ and ‘indirect’ (or ‘virtual’) water impacts. Direct water is that which is used directly from the tap and taken directly from a company’s own country’s water resources. Indirect water is that which is used throughout the entire process to produce a product or service. Indirect water is obviously much more complex to measure than direct water.

Greenhouse gas emissions are all bad but water footprinting is not as transparent. With water the issue is asking: was the water used sustainably? Water efficiency and responsible disposal are coming closer than ever to being a key to survival and success.

 

 

May 27, 2009
Inga Jirgensone 

 






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