Global water usage has exploded in recent years. This has been led by emerging markets demanding increasing amounts of clean water for consumption, and the agriculture industry needing more water to produce the food required to meet their new demand. These two increases in demand combined with the shrinking supply of clean water have led many to predict a water shortage sometime in the future. To fight this problem there are two options: decrease demand or increase supply. The globalEDGE October Newsletter addresses the option of increasing supply while this post will discuss efforts to decrease demand.
Many companies from around the globe have stepped up to help solve this global water issue. Financial.de reports General Electric recently released a cooling product that allows industrial companies to use lower quality water while still avoiding equipment corrosion. This creates a more efficient operation by conserving water, increasing output and increasing the water sources available for use.
Governments are also realizing that they must help curb the use of water by agriculture sources. EurActiv.com reports that the EU is currently researching measures that will regulate the amount of water usage farmers can use. The head of European Commission’s Water Unit also believes that crops used for food (as opposed to biofuels) should have priority water access. In other parts of the world, Syngenta, a global high-yielding seeds company, has put together an international team of students and professors to teach Indian farmers how to grow rice more efficiently. The students will be demonstrating two tools to allow farmers to easily see the level of water in their soil and measure how much water is available to crops. By regulating the amount of water usage and teaching how to use less, these organizations are effectively addressing the fastest growing use of water.
The world as a whole is starting to realize that this problem must be addressed eventually. Between all of these measures they are taking a step in the right direction. Use of water in agriculture has exploded recently led by farmers in emerging markets not having the same technology as developed countries. Programs that help them grow their own food effectively will help prevent a shortage of food as their population and demand continue to grow. To ward off this crisis it will undoubtedly take a worldwide effort and these programs are definitely a step in the right direction.