Despite rising demands for water and energy, we’re continuing to contaminate or waste our available resources. The availability of the world’s scarce water resources is increasingly limited due to the pollution of freshwater resources caused by the disposal of large quantities of insufficiently treated, or untreated, wastewater into rivers, lakes, aquifers and coastal waters. A total of 80% of all wastewater returns to nature without being properly treated.
And as more of us move to cities, we collectively consume more goods, which subsequently require more water. This water makes up a huge percentage of our daily usage but is completely invisible to us. Every single product we use, eat or wear takes water to produce. For instance, it takes 8,000 litres of water to produce a pair of jeans and 12,760 litres to produce just one smartphone — which is a lot. But if we started to use the same water more than once, with intelligent water solutions, we could dramatically lower that number. This way, five smartphones could be made with the same amount of water, instead of just one.
These water issues translate directly into environmental, social and economic problems that affect us all. We all play an active role: Politicians must implement necessary legislation, cities must implement available water and energy efficient solutions, and companies must prioritise responsible water usage, reuse and treatment as well as energy efficient solutions.
Together, we can work to secure more clean water where it is needed, reduce water and energy consumption and minimise water loss – with less stress on available resources.