We Cannot Afford to Wait: Adapting to the Effects of Climate Change
Global challenges in the water sector
By 2030, we will face a global deficit of 40% of water in an identical climate scenario – or even worse – than the one we are facing now. This trend is due to a combination of 3 factors – population growth & demographic change, urbanization, and climate change. To put this into context, the world’s total population is estimated to grow to 9.7 billion by 2050. At the same time, water consumption is increasing by 2.5% per year faster than the world’s population growth.
Energy and sustainability in the water industry
The water sector consumes 4% of electricity worldwide. If you look at one of the biggest operating costs – electricity – the savings potential becomes significant. Reducing energy expenditure will achieve greater synergies.
Organizations such as the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) or the World-Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) are demanding that companies demonstrate corporate water management and promote the responsible use of water resources.
When it comes to climate change, 25% more natural resources are currently being used than the Earth can yield at a sustainable rate. We need to create resilient and sustainable water supply for people and industries everywhere. The water sector has a double challenge in the face of climate change. On the one hand, the need to be more efficient by reducing energy consumption and prioritizing the use of clean energies. On the other, encouraging a more efficient use of water both in the agricultural and urban sectors through public awareness campaigns or improved leakage management techniques.
The water industry’s role in biodiversity and livelihood Water is required to support biodiversity. Without sufficient and good quality water, stresses on species greatly increases biodiversity losses. In turn, biodiversity is critical to the maintenance of both the quality and quantity of water supplies, and plays a vital – but often under-acknowledged – role in the water cycle. Ecosystems and their biodiversity should not be viewed as consumers of water, but as essential elements of natural infrastructure within water management. Without ecosystems, and the complex biological relationships and processes that they support, the quantity and quality of global water resources will become severely compromised. The current paradigm, in which water and biodiversity are managed separately, is obsolete.
About the Author
Dr. Lukas Loeffler is a C-level leader with a successful record of managing international businesses for global companies. He currently leads Schneider Electric’s global water business with a focus on strategic key accounts as well as global strategy development and innovation for the segment.