Drought Spurs Companies to Seek Water Solutions

Sunday, 21 Jul 2013 09:37 PM

By Michael Kling

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A severe drought throughout the U.S. West is forcing companies to take a new look at how they use water.

Companies are seeking new water sources like deeper wells, but they're also implementing new water management strategies such as reusing waste water and using salt water.

"As the drought continues, industry's eyes are opening," Jordan Furnans, senior engineer at INTERA, a Texas-based geosciences and engineering firm, told CNBC.

Editor's Note: Prophetic Economist Warns: “It’s Curtains for America.” See Evidence.

A range of companies need water for industrial, chemical and energy operations. If they don't have enough water, they may be forced to shut down. They're realizing that, even if the drought eases, water issues are here to stay and they'll need water management plans if they expect to survive.

"If plants shut down, they're losing millions of dollars per day," Furnans told CNBC. "If you don't have an active water management plan in place, you're courting disaster."

Companies in the food and beverage, apparel, and technology sectors – including Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Nike and Anheuser-Busch – are among the heavy users of water that are working on solutions.

The problem is not limited to the American West. Companies around the world are increasingly facing water shortages as population and economic growth continues, CNBC reports. Every percentage point of GDP growth equals a one percent increase in water consumption.

The World Economic Forum predicts water supply will fall short of demand by 40 percent by 2030.

"Companies across the spectrum are facing water challenges. Water is becoming the silent currency," said Giulio Boccaletti, managing director of global fresh water at Nature Conservancy, according to CNBC.

Muhtar Kent, chairman and CEO of Coca-Cola Co., and Carter Roberts, president and CEO of the World Wildlife Fund, are urging businesses to take a leadership role in water management efforts.

Improving their water efficiency will help their bottom line as well as the environment, they say in a co-written article for Politico. Businesses should also promote sustainable water use in their supply chains and work with governments and non-government agencies to seek solutions.

"We must begin to value water as the essential and precious resource it is. We need, in short, a watershed moment – a new era of cooperation, respect and action."

Wal-Mart, McDonald’s, H&M, Unilever, and Intel are some of the corporations that are conserving water within their operations and using their influence to improve water management outside their own businesses.

"When agricultural production is curtailed, when power generation is limited or when millions of girls can’t go to school because of a lack of water and  sanitation facilities," Kent and Roberts write, "somewhere, some way, yourbusiness is going to feel it."

Editor's Note: Prophetic Economist Warns: “It’s Curtains for America.” See Evidence.

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