Water, once perceived as abundant, is now at the forefront of global concerns as the consensus grows that future scarcity is imminent. While some companies already equate water to the next oil, adopting preparations for an era of “peak water,” the year 2009 is poised to witness a renewed surge in water conservation efforts across U.S. organizations.
Traditionally kept at artificially low costs, water is now facing a critical juncture where the impacts of climate change, mismanagement of stormwater runoff, and excessive use of freshwater are depleting this invaluable resource. A study from the U.S. Climate Change Science Program in May 2008 underscores the urgency, emphasizing the likelihood of water becoming scarcer.
Despite the economic challenges of the time, the dawn of 2009, under new leadership, signals a pivotal moment to prioritize water conservation. In recent years, water issues have gained prominence, primarily because the genuine cost of fresh water has not been fully reflected in its pricing.
Unlike oil, whose market value is closely tied to its intrinsic worth, water pricing is more influenced by the expenses associated with infrastructure and transportation. In the United States, the average cost per 1,000 gallons of water is a mere $1.50, as reported by the American Water Works Association, an organization dedicated to enhancing global drinking water standards.
However, this paradigm is on the cusp of transformation, according to Jon Roberts, Director of Building Science at CTG Energetics. He notes a shift in water’s value perception, with Southern California water utilities contemplating substantial annual rate increases of 20 to 30 percent for the next half-decade. The looming possibilities of water curtailments and mandatory reductions further underscore the changing dynamics.
As 2023 unfolds, the urgency for water conservation takes center stage, driven by a collective realization that water plays a pivotal role in both sustainability and economic frameworks. Organizations, governments, and companies are gearing up to tackle water scarcity head-on, recognizing its significance in the intricate puzzle of global challenges.
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