RESEARCH MEMO ON BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES CREATED BY WATER SCARCITY
Water is the most basic resource as it is the mother of all life on planet earth. It is quite paradoxical that while water occupies about 67 percent of the total earth surface, it is increasingly becoming scarce in many parts of the U.S and most parts of the globe. In fact, U.S is going through an era of water scarcity. The problem is becoming ever more serious unless urgent measures are put in place to contain the situation and ensure water security to the people. Water scarcity is not confined to the U.S alone as it is actually a global problem but it is important to consider ways of ensuring water resources do not get depleted, because there would be very little left for the increasing number of people, given the rate at which some of the water resources are drying up including a fall in sea and mainland water levels.
We need clean water. Many people have been struggling to find fresh water for decades with no success. It may be a little difficult trying to understand why much emphasis should be placed on water but looking at the rate at which the natural resource has being depleted, people might as well have to do without water altogether in the coming century. The problem is being experienced in many parts of the United States and it is projected that in the next 10-15 years businesses and government operations will be greatly affected. This is a wake-up call to authorities and other stakeholders that they should find ways of managing this invaluable resource effectively.
Water is needed in large quantities to generate hydro-electric power for domestic and industrial consumption and other commercial purposes like fishing, sanitation, and irrigation. Most plantations in the U.S depend on irrigation. The scarcity of water in the country has had the effect of slowing growth as well as productivity since they are all dependent on water.
Most of the water woes have been occasioned by a surge in population leading to a scrabble for the invaluable commodity. Everyone is a contributor to this problem. Water is being used in larger amounts because everyone needs their share. From homes to hospitals, from the farms to the industries; water is needed in more than ever before. An increase in human population has had its consequences on the environment as well. People are struggling have a share of the available meager resources and as such there has been a drain on these resources.
Climate change is a result of uncontrolled human activity whose result is global warming. This phenomenon is an excellent example of a problem that has come up as a result of a rapid increase in human population. The rate at which carbon dioxide is being emitted to the atmosphere as a result of an increase in population is quite disturbing. Forest cover has been destroyed and ice covers on some of the most reliable sources of water like mountains are fast disappearing. Highlands have for along time been the key sources of water for generating power and irrigation besides consumption. Human inhabitation of these areas has been on the increase and as such forest cover has decreased substantially. We all know that trees are responsible for attracting rainfall and absorbing carbon dioxide. Trees have been felled for purposes of availing more land for agriculture and rainfall has reduced. Carbon dioxide has increased in the atmosphere as its absorption has reduced. This has greatly led to a fall in the amount of rainfall many areas receive compared to previous times when the rainfall was relatively higher. Water levels in the great lakes have been declining due to climate change. Lake Erie has been the most affected and this is a cause for alarm as it is the source of clean water to over 11 million people.
Cities in the U.S have been growing at a very high rate, leading to people migrating from rural to urban areas. Urbanization is a phenomenon the authorities have not been able to control. This has led to stiff competition for water resources mainly in the cities. Water is not only needed for human consumption alone but for many other purposes such use in the industries as they strive to increase production to meet the increasing demand in their produce. Hospitals and the mega cities need a lot of water for sanitation. Farms are experiencing a shortage in the water they need for production.
Water shortage is being felt so much in the coastal city of Brockton in Massachusetts. The crisis has been such a significant one as it has resulted to converting brackish water into drinkable water. This shows the magnitude of the problem as ordinarily people would have reservations drinking such water as they would still consider it unclean, but they have no choice. The use of water is being restricted as the problem persists. Urban planners and water experts need to put their efforts together to address this problem. Scientists have been warning that within the next one decade water reservoirs would be a thing of the past. Rapid industrial growth has been responsible for the increase of pollution. Dangerous industrial emissions and waste are responsible for pollution both to rain water through emissions of poisonous gases as well as discharging dangerous waste into rivers and reservoirs.
The water situation in the U.S presents a viable business opportunity as it is still a largely untapped avenue for great profit. Many companies need people who can help manage the meager water resources that are available. People with innovative business minds should grab the chance granted by the unprecedented phenomenon of water shortage occasioned by urbanization and start companies that will help in managing water resources besides supplying water to cities. The means of delivering the much needed water is not limited to pipes as modern technology has come up with bottling as well as the installation of water dispensers and tanks to ensure that every deserving person gets the water they need.
Water continues to be a very largely has untapped business opportunity as city authorities are not capable of providing all the services to the city populations which are ever on the increase. People in the cities need enough water for domestic use and sanitation. The hospitals can not function without water as hygiene is the most crucial thing; it is indeed more important than medication. Everything in the hospitals is dependent on water. Industries need water in large amounts to meet their production targets which are higher than the water that is needed for that purpose.
The water situation in the U.S is also a head ache to many other developing and developed countries. This means that the world needs people with innovative minds to devise ways of ensuring adequate supply of water mainly to the city people, hospitals and the industries. Provision of water services is the next big business and anyone investing in this venture will have made the right decision. The cities of the U.S do have not enough firms that supply water mainly for drinking and domestic use.
New firms should come up with a radical solution that is real to solve the problem and make profit out of it. In the next few years Americans will be spending more on bottled water than beverages and this is the right time to invest in the commodity. Underground water still lies unexploited and anyone serious about providing water to the masses should think about sinking boreholes to tap the water for processing and bottling for sale (Glennon 125). The icebergs in Alaska still lie idle and it is time some innovative entrepreneur found ways of tapping this source of water. The process of extracting water from underground resources and converting icebergs into drinkable water requires sophisticated technology and water engineers are needed to provide the expertise on this as water is soon going to become a multi-billion dollar enterprise in the U.S. Future entrepreneurs should borrow from Pepsi and Coca Cola companies and develop new technologies of packaging water to sell to city residents. They should also start offering water resources management and supplies services for companies, hospitals, schools and cities besides providing new solution by tapping all possible water resources to supply clean water to these institutions.
The chart below shows U.S’ response to the global water crisis by its donation in dollars other countries between 1990 -1999.
Glennon, R, (2009). Unquenchable: Americas Water Crisis And What To Do About It.Island Press.