Did you know that even water, which the Earth seems to have in abundance, might one day become scarce?
There are more than 1,386 billion km³ water on Earth. However, less than 3% is freshwater, and of that, more than two-thirds is locked up in ice caps and glaciers. With so much water around, it seems like there is enough to see us through for millions of years, yet this may not be the case.
As a resource, water is finite. We humans use it every day to produce food and commodities. We drink it, and we use it for sanitation. Annually, four million cubic meters of water are withdrawn around the world.
But the limited supply of water on our planet is being dramatically transformed by climate change. Currently, 90% of all climate-related catastrophes are linked to water.
This makes water scarcity one of the biggest challenges of our time. Around two-thirds of our global population of 4 billion people face water scarcity for at least one month per year. And, according to the World Economic Forum, 380 million people could face ‘water stress’ by 2050.
Due to the ever-growing human population (80 million people per year), the competition for water is rapidly increasing at such a rate that many of the world’s major groundwater resources are becoming depleted.
So, we must handle this precious commodity wisely. Failure to mitigate climate change could lead to more extreme weather events, ecosystem collapse, and a greater likelihood of human-made environmental disasters. All of these can exacerbate food and water insecurity, which in turn can lead to human deprivation.
Safe water as a priority
But even more important than access to freshwater is the need for the water to be safe. Safe water is a scarce resource worldwide.
According to Statista, unsafe water kills more people (780,00 deaths between 1980-2015) than natural disasters and conflict combined (63,000 and 75,000). Almost 80% of diseases in so-called “developing” countries are associated with water, causing some three million early deaths. For example, 5,000 children die every day from diarrhea – or one every 17 seconds. Water Aid, a UK-based NGO, says that “785 million people around the world still don’t have access to water close to home. That’s 1 in 10 people.”
It is estimated that over 70% of water usage is used for agriculture, 20% for industry, and 10% for individual use. In contrast, changes in lifestyles and eating habits require ever-increasing levels of water consumption. And in industrialized nations, industries consume more than half of the water available for human use.
By taking a ‘clean water first’ approach, we can positively impact and make progress on the global challenges heavily reliant on water.
Sustainable Development Goals’ reliance on water
The UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals are the focus areas of the United Nations signatories which they adopted in 2015.
The Sustainable Development Goals that most heavily rely on clean, reliable water include:
- Zero hunger (2)
70% of water worldwide is used for agriculture. So, water production needs to match the growing demand for food to remain a sustainable and productive sector.
- Better health and well-being (3)
Clean water for drinking and sanitation is the most fundamental way to prevent disease and water-borne illnesses, which cause 297,000 children under 5 to die each year. Clean water is also vital for successful immunization and thus crucial in the fight against, for example, COVID-19.
- Gender equality (5)
Women and girls are responsible for collecting water in 80% of households that lack on-premise water facilities preventing them from participating in education and other activities.
- Industrial productivity (9)
Water stress makes supply unpredictable and costly and affects the operational capability, profits, and reputation of businesses.
- Climate action (13)
Water production has a largely hidden impact on the environment, producing 76 million tons of CO2 from seawater purification. The effect of the rest of the supply chains that transport water (by boat, truck, and plane) to end-users is still unknown.
- Life on land (15)
Did you know that humans buy 1 million plastic bottles each minute? Around half of these are for drinking water. According to National Geographic, fewer than 10% of plastic bottles are recycled, with the rest burnt or ending up in landfills or as ocean waste.
- Peace (16)
Better water strategies are needed to prevent the forced migration of people both domestically and internationally. It is estimated that by 2030, up to 700 million people could be displaced if we don’t find alternative methods to secure water.
The goals are clear, but how can we deliver on them?
An integrated approach is required in which there is better cooperation across the water sector and with its partners. It will require a sharp focus on developing sustainable water practices and innovation. We need to scale up climate adaption, using water and the water sector as an essential enabler and connector to safeguard a sustainable future for all.
“Water has to be the driving force of resilient and adaptive climate policies. We have to improve the way we manage the challenges of having too much water, too little water, and water that is too dirty. Collaboration within the worldwide climate community is critical,” said Cora van Nieuwenhuizen, Minister of Infrastructure and Management, the Netherlands.
Already, real estate businesses and owners are working to reduce their impact on the environment and factoring sustainability issues into investment choices and business decisions and practices.
As a real estate owner or professional, it is within your power to ensure that your property has a water efficiency strategy to help save water and improve the quality of life for current and future generations.
Not only do sustainable strategies and environmentally friendly practices benefit the environment and people, but they also help your business – by saving you resources, money, and time.
This is where technologies such as Smartvatten’s remote water monitoring system can help you.
How can you improve your property’s water efficiency?
Smartvatten is a convenient option for busy property managers. It is simple to install on your existing water meter and replaces the need for manual water meter readings while monitoring water consumption in real-time.
The system analyzes changes in water consumption patterns and notifies your maintenance team immediately if any deviations or leaks are detected. This way, you can fix any leaks immediately and thus reduce any water wastage and damage and their associated costs.
Remember that every drop counts, and there’s no planet B. So, do your bit by making your water consumption more sustainable and choose Smartvatten today.
Ready to take the first step toward water efficiency? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.