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Soapbox: Water crisis is the biggest concern for the next 10 years
Writes Klaus Reichardt, CEO and founder of Waterless Co, manufacturer of no-water urinals, cleaning liquids and cost-saving accessories
"According to the World Economic Forum's Global Risks Report 2016, the water crisis-the result of shortages, flooding, or droughts-is the number one crisis impacting the planet over the next 10 years.
The report, which was released on January 14, 2016, surveys nearly 750 experts on the perceived impact a risk would have on the world and the likelihood that it may occur over an 18-month and 10-year timeframe.
As to more immediate dangers over the next 18 months, the report says 'failure of climate change mitigation and adaption' is the big concern. This is the first time since the annual report was published 10 years ago that an environmental issue is the leading crisis of concern.
In fact, for the next 18 months, climate change issues were ranked higher than the potential damage from weapons of mass destruction; water crises; large-scale involuntary migration; and what was termed 'severe energy price shock'.
In terms of risk, however, the most likely to occur over the next 18 months, were the following:
- Large-scale involuntary migration
- Extreme weather events
- Failure of climate change mitigation and adaption
- Regional conflicts
- Major natural catastrophes
However, it is the bigger picture risks over the next 10 years out that often draw the most concern.
For water to be the top concern is alarming because it is so tightly interlinked with other concerns such as involuntary migration, regional and economic conflicts, as well as a dramatic increase in the cost of energy.
While the report does not suggest ways to meet these challenges, at least as it pertains to water, new technologies are helping to minimise water concerns in many parts of the world.
"The reason California has survived four years with a serious drought with relatively minor impact on businesses or consumers is due to these new technologies that use water more efficiently or have eliminated the need for water completely."
18th February 2016