Water is such a crucial necessity that it is shocking how little we value it as individuals and economically. In a way, this might be because we have had easy access to it. But now, cities are running out of water, droughts are increasing, rainfall is decreasing, and a massive amount of water is being wasted. I envision a world where people aren’t dying of preventable water-borne diseases, because they must rely on unfiltered, contaminated water sources, a world where people do not have to dedicate their hours to walking miles to get water, a world where we all want to ensure water for all of us and can do it. We must adopt a perspective where our natural resources are protected proactively, instead of our tendency to ignore issues, until they are too big for us to fix. This “we” refers to us as individuals and as communities and businesses.
1. I think a policy that requires municipalities and governments to protect of watersheds and other reservoirs would be a great way to reduce the impacts of droughts and water-borne illnesses.
2. Another intervention may be to invest in infrastructure that allows the construction of watersheds in areas where people must walk miles to get a bucket of freshwater, and then the consequent infrastructure required to give people the access to the water from those watersheds. This would be a massive financial investment, so perhaps we can enact policies that require multi-national corporations to invest in this if they are operating in that city. This would be especially beneficial for MNCs that mainly operate out of developing countries (e.g., for production).
3. The technological innovations are also great for local areas with specific issues (such as dumping of effluent, or lead-contaminated waters), and to encourage people to create these solutions, raising more awareness of not only the problem, but also what people have done, and teaching them how these things can be done is needed. Governments could also provide subsidies or some form of financial support to initiatives like these, so that these are areas that people can devote their careers to, rather than it being something for the rich and wealthy only.
4. Charging industries for their water-use, and especially for how they treat their effluent/waste can help prevent issues of water pollution (and subsequent scarcity).
5. Water is also used iin large quantities for livestock and meat-production, so perhaps industrial restrictions on the supply of meat could reduce the use of water usage. This would also require a lot of communities to begin adopting a more plant-based diet, so maybe increasing the availabilities of those options (e.g., in school lunches) could be a good start for reducing meat demand.
It’s definitely a challenge, and there are unique issues surrounding water in each area. But if we can work to reduce our water consumption, proactively prevent water pollution (enabling more clean water sources to exist), and even address aspects of climate change (like higher temperatures, leading to more wildfires and droughts), then we can still make a meaningful impact.