Saturday, July 5

Looking for Alexander's Sword: Water Crisis Gordian Knot, Part 5

"The theme here is that stewardship starts with measurement."

I'm featuring more passages from the GreenBiz report I quoted from yesterday because they really deserve their own post:
As many exciting solutions as the speakers identified, they kept coming back to the reality that businesses need to get much more serious about assessing their own water performance and risks. The scarcity of data -- both on the risk side and top-line -- remains a huge obstacle; many stakeholders are reluctant to publicly release data and there is a lack of standardized data collection.

Ultimately, the reality of water scarcity and climbing demand will leave no choice for stakeholders who are reluctant to part with data sets. Advances in technology such water-smart meters may provide a promising path to better and easier data collection, lowering the cost and hassle factor for water users, including farmers.

The theme here is that stewardship starts with measurement: if they haven't already, businesses need to start assessing their water performance, set a baseline and work towards reducing use.
For commercial and institutional water users, tools such as the Water Efficiency Toolkit that EDF developed with AT&T can offer a first step toward assessing water performance and mapping out actions they can take to improve it.
See the report for links to information on the toolkit and advances in technology. The Associated Press and Reuters reports I quoted in an earlier post make clear that California's government has the same problem as the private sector when it comes to getting accurate data on water usage.  The situation exists across the board; few if any governments at the local and national levels in the USA and around the world know with any accuracy the amount of water used in their jurisdictions and how it's used.

The upshot: Many big surprises about how quickly and where water supplies are running out.

So while it's good to talk about shared responsibility, stewardship, and great new technologies, intelligent prioritizing about where to place resources for dealing with water scarcity depends on accurate, comprehensive data collection.  If there's one thing that can cut through the Gordian Knot of water crises in the United States and worldwide, it's that.


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