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Implications of Water Shortages on the Economy

Water availability is a real worldwide issue that affects manufacturing and economic production at all levels. It is easy to take water for granted, especially living in developed countries that lack awareness for water conservation. Improper water sanitation processes in developing countries hinders their economic infrastructures. According to Rachel Kyte, World Bank Group Vice President and Special Envoy for Climate Change “The world’s energy and water are inextricably linked. With demand rising for both resources and increasing challenges from climate change, water scarcity can threaten the long-term viability of energy projects and hinder development.” With the rising global population and shortage of clean water supplies, it can create long term problems that cannot yet be predicted.

According to the International Energy Agency, the world’s energy consumption will increase by 35 percent, which will increase water consumption by 85 percent by 2035. Water is required to manufacture energy and last year alone, water shortages caused thermal power plants in India to shut down and caused reduced energy production in power plants in the US, Sri Lanka, Brazil and China. A decrease in the power supply affects manufacturers across the board in agriculture, consumer products and institutions. To put things in perspective, producing one pair of jeans requires more than 2,900 gallons of water. 22% of the US GDP is produced in water scarce areas today and at current growth rates will reach 45% by 2050. Cities such as Milwaukee even market water availability as an advantage with its water supply remaining America’s cheapest.

California has been in a water drought emergency for the past five months, after Governor Jerry Brown asked Californians to use 20 percent less water. Saving water is a collective effort and businesses should be on the forefront in setting conservation strategies and tactics. Not only will businesses save on their bottom line, such efforts will qualify them to apply to green business programs many cities provide. Water consumption awareness should extend to employees’ personal use in their homes as well. Businesses should provide incentives and reward those efforts. The main goal is to educate everyone in the company, from the top down.

Find out more about our efforts on becoming a certified SF Green Business and see how it can benefit your company. To find out the latest news in clean energy and water conservation efforts, sign up for our newsletter. And finally, help spread the word on water conservation by reposting our blog on your Twitter or Facebook accounts.

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