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  • Writer's pictureDeepa Rao

Water is a source of resilience: a call for coordinated action on water access globally

With only 1% of our planet's total water supply easily available, one of the most serious challenges in the modern world is our failure to provide clean water to every population. According to a United Nations (UN) report from July 2021, around 2 billion people – nearly 26% of the world's population – struggle to obtain and maintain a clean and safe water supply [ref]. Due to rising population and limited freshwater resources, Asian countries are the hardest hit by the catastrophe. As a result of the synergistic effects of agricultural development, industrialisation, and urbanisation, several countries have begun to confront moderate to severe water shortages.

Investing in collaborative, innovative projects that work towards ensuring water security for all is the greatest way to confront this hazardous situation head-on, as it is now a matter of life and death for many people. A worldwide dialogue, where leaders and industry professionals can exchange best practices on technology-driven solutions and effective governance, is required to future-proof and maintain the sustainability of water supplies across all nations.

Important steps toward resolving the water crisis:

• Implementing long-term demand reduction, which necessitates monitoring water usage trends.

• Strengthening resilient water technologies by examining where high-population areas stand in terms of existing resources, and by establishing new methods with industries as a technology-enabled structure necessitates industrial engagement, as well as by recycling.

• Decarbonizing water by lowering the amount of energy used in water treatment and transportation.

We can dramatically reform all types of water consumption and prevent the current scarcity from increasing if we retain a conscious emphasis on these three areas. Water security is influenced by our personal lifestyle choices. Water conservation on an operational level is one measure that can be made to ease and de-escalate the water crisis. This necessitates a societal examination of how water is used, and the development of solutions aimed at minimising waste, preventing water quality degradation, and enhancing overall water management. A typical smartphone, for example, has a water footprint of around 13,000 litres, or about 130 bathtubs. This is the quantity of water required to manufacture all the phone's components, including the microprocessor, glass, plastic, and metal, and much of it is drinkable. Rethinking how we create and produce items could have a significant impact on ensuring a reliable water supply.

Population growth, urbanisation, and high living standards are all factors. By 2050, urban regions are expected to house 68 percent of the world's population. This increase in urbanisation is not necessarily a bad thing, but it will have substantial consequences for the environment, including a lack of access to adequate water and sanitation, as well as an increase in water-related calamities like floods and droughts. The problem is to achieve sustainable growth without harming the environment, such as avoiding critical concerns that contribute to rapid deterioration and degradation of water quality at water supply intake locations. Reuse and recycling, as well as investing in important technology and infrastructure, should be part of this focus in dealing with water scarcity challenges. This requires implementing the appropriate policies and laws to meet future demands. To ensure water sustainability for future generations, a plan's layout should encompass at least 100 years.

Innovating for the future

When it comes to innovation, a willingness to embrace change and collaborate for the sake of a more sustainable future is required. More than simply technical innovation is required for change; it also necessitates the evolution of business models, governance structures, triggers, and the integration of general change management methods.

Sustainability advocates for resource management that do not deplete resources for future generations. Climate change and the limited resources available to us necessitate more efficient water systems than we now have. Efficient water management necessitates a holistic approach in which various stakeholders – policymakers, scientists, industry leaders, engineers, academicians, and water management professionals – come together to discuss and debate how to use innovation to protect urban water systems from the effects of climate uncertainty, as well as how future infrastructure systems can build resilience to extreme weather events while improving resource efficiency.

These discussions highlight the importance of resilient water infrastructure for global sustainable development, particularly in the rapidly urbanising Asia area. Developing efficient and inclusive water supplies, as well as future-proofing coastal infrastructure that will endure generations, is a never-ending task that we must solve via dialogue and collaboration that will result in successful action.

Impact as a group

We're driving the transition to a water-resilient future for businesses and communities, working with global business leaders to spearhead a collective corporate response in this critical moment. We're asking businesses to join us in responding quickly and on a large scale, utilising their worldwide operating footprints to expedite access to water and raise hygiene awareness among employees and consumers, as well as within supply chains and in the communities where they do business.

While the pandemic has had a worldwide impact, communities with weak healthcare systems and inadequate water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) facilities are particularly vulnerable — these are the systems and geographies on which many globalised supply chains rely. COVID-19 has highlighted global interdependence and expedited the underlying threats to business continuity, such as climate change, water security, and brittle supply networks. A cross-border, cross-sector approach to freshwater resilience and sustainable water availability is vital to overcoming COVID-19 and mitigating future global health and climate disasters.

Through COVID-19 and beyond, resiliency

Investing in water and hygiene initiatives is a long-term investment in company resilience, not just for COVID-19 recovery. Healthy communities and ecosystems are the foundations of resilient businesses. Water stewardship is an opportunity for progressive organisations to ensure business continuity, not only corporate social responsibility.

The climate issue makes it even more difficult to get clean water: during droughts, freshwater sources dry up; during floods, water supplies are compromised; and rising oceans exacerbate groundwater salinity. This, combined with the fact that many developing nations' WASH systems are already inadequate, exposes billions of people to climate and health concerns. Two billion people live in water-stressed areas around the world. If nothing is done, half of the world's population will live in water-stressed countries by 2050, putting their health and livelihoods at risk.

Protecting employees and local populations is critical to both operational and financial stability for enterprises with supply chains in water-stressed and WASH-vulnerable nations. The synergy that results from investing in sustainable water solutions that benefits people, the earth, and, eventually, economic success, has a clear financial rationale. Increased productivity is predicted to be $4.30 for every $1 invested in WASH. COVID-19 provides an opportunity to lead via water stewardship, incorporating concrete WASH targets into corporate sustainability strategies to ensure long-term economic viability.

Act right now

Work with Maithri Aquatech, an expert to effect long-term changes in your supply chain and surrounding communities. Maithri’s AWG (Atmospheric Water Generation) based MEGHDOOT devices are conceived, developed, and built on a local level in response to climatic conditions. It lowers the cost of the infrastructure required to provide drinking water because the production and consumption locations are the same. The machines are capable of supplying over 1000 litres of water each day. This method can reduce the need to purchase plastic bottled water by producing water on-site. There is no danger of drilling or borehole depletion. It may be used in a wide range of weather conditions. We have deployed solutions to domestic, private, and public customers in over 27 countries.

Follow the global water mandates and water aid frameworks by WHO, which outlines practical steps your company can take to speed up its COVID-19 response in operations, supply chains, and the communities where employees live, paving the way for a 'blue' economic recovery and long-term resilience.

Maithri Aquatech; +91 77022 91519 (WhatsApp)

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