"Water is a local issue demanding responses tailored to specific locations. Sadly, most communities, especially in developing countries, are ill-prepared to adjust to looming new realities. Canadian expertise in water management is greatly needed."
"Canadians can do well by doing good," he adds. If the prediction of a $1 trillion water industry in 2020 proves correct (it is estimated today at $400 billion per year), it would be about one-fifth as large as today's global $4.5 trillion construction industry.
"We need to brace for what could easily be humanity's greatest short-term challenges," says Margaret Catley-Carlson, a former senior official with both the Canadian government and at the United Nations, a renowned global authority on water issues, and a CWN director.
She cites US-led research that, by 2030, global water demand will be 40 percent greater than today's "accessible, reliable, environmentally sustainable supply," which constitutes a fraction of the absolute raw freshwater available in nature. Filling the gap with supply-side measures only, however, requires an estimated $200 billion per year; an approach that both raises supply and lowers demand would require $50 to $60 billion.
Says Nicholas Parker, Chairman of the Cleantech group: "What people don't often realize is how much water there is in everything we make and buy, from t-shirts to wine."
"Virtual water" describes the volume "embedded" in a product during its production. A desktop computer, for example, requires 1.5 tonnes (1,500 litres) of water; a pair of denim jeans up to 6 tonnes; a kilogram of wheat 1 tonne; a kilo of chicken 3 to 4 tonnes; a kilo of beef 15 to 30 tonnes."
Annual global trade in "virtual water" today is said to exceed 800 billion tonnes, the equivalent of 10 Nile Rivers.
And the financial world is looking ahead to the bottom-line impacts of a water-constrained wo
|Contact: Terry Collins|
Canadian Water Network