A Drop of Innovation Please…

Posted: June 23, 2011 by lisabu00 in development, environment

When I was looking for new innovations and news in the field of Green Business – I use the GreenBiz.com homepage for those purposes – I came across this article: 10 Perspectives on the Future of Water.

One of the links the article provided was the homepage of the ‘The Future we Create’ with the current virtual conference of the future of water.

The talk which caught my eyes the most was the statement of Guy Horowitz of TaKaDu who talks about the ‘innovation or investment gap’ in the water industry.

He talks about the urgent requirement of investments and innovation in the water infrastructure, because spending on water is not visible and not perceived as important yet and revenues are spent for other projects.

The fact that water is underpriced and that the simple supply and demand scheme does not apply here, underlines his statement and reveals the need for modernization. His company ‘TaKaDu’ provides a presentation summarizing the information you should know about water consumption and losses in our world. You can find it here with the nice title: Counting every drop.

Going deeper, the question arose: is there enough water on our planet to cover all the new inventions and innovation in all the other fields?

So I found this conference which will take place these days concerning exactly this topic – the new politics of water and if emerging economies have enough water to support their economic growth.

So I’m really curious how the results look like and I hope for publications.

One of the speakers of this conference, is Amir Peleg. He talks about the demographic development and the insufficient water supply which will automatically lead to food shortage.

If you keep in mind, for producing one kilogram of beef it needs 15.000 liters of water, this fact doesn’t appear unrealistic.

He agrees that the water industry has to “move from the 19th century visible and manual view of the world into the 21st so the network is visible and can be better operated and maximized (using existing data to detect and alert upon inefficient operations). This is the way to increase sustainability.”(The other scarcity in the water sector.

But this sector requires a lot of money. Right now, just 2% of investments from venture capital funds are directed at the water sector. The underpricing leads to a low return on investment and therefore the motivation for investments under the perception that money cannot be made, is almost zero.

But there’s hope. As I read in ‘New Water-Smart Communities prepare for a Water Scarce Future’ a few city in the U.S. started to design water friendly houses and landscapes (low need of irrigation) with a sophisticated infrastructure.

During the last decades – people were willing to pay more for the construction of their own home, if they can implement ecologically friendly and energy- and water-saving systems.

Many companies observed this trend of the awareness of ecology of people and build up businesses specializing in this field like Rainharvesting Systems.

But even if this might be a first step, it’s just a tiny portion of what have to be done. It’s time for government to interfere and to start investing and researching with the collaboration of the water industry and experts of this field.

The Water Innovation Network lists all the fact mentioned here before as there objectives for the prospective periods and describes them in more detail. In their blog, they discuss possible solutions and opportunities.

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Comments
  1. angiethiem says:

    Looking at outer space photos and seeing more or less nothing than blue – it is so hard imagine that our blue planet could have something like water problems!
    The first time I became acutal aware of the issue was in our selfmanagement course (maybe you remember …lisa’s? presentation) – anyway – but last month the topic came again to my mind when I visited the “karneval der kulturen” in Berlin. There was the group “Viva con agua” (http://www.vivaconagua.org/), which is really engaged all over Germany and helps countries all over the world. They have really funny and creative projects- my favourite so far (because I think its quiet effectiv): they put tons next to all the drink booths and people could donate their “Pfand”. Good idea, isnt it? You dont see the money, its quick and “flutsch” your glass/bottle is gone and donated!
    Anyway I agree with you, that the state and companies should take responsability in the topic and start taking more action. The problem is to huge and important to let it rest with a few engaged, young hippies 😉

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