Gary White, Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder, Water.org and WaterEquity and Jennifer Schorsch, President, Water.org, spoke with Bloomberg last week about the global water wars.
One of the first things that we heard when the coronavirus pandemic struck is that everyone should wash their hands vigorously and often. In the U.S., we have that ability without a thought. However, when you think about people around the world, more than two billion people don’t have access to safely managed water and sanitation so we can see how the pandemic is more deadly and exacerbated in areas without adequate water.
Many people think that climate change and water shortages is an issue of tommorow but that’s not true. The water crisis is an issue of today where a third of the world’s population lives in water-stressed areas right now. With COVID-19, nearly 3 billion people cannot wash their hands at home in the midst of a pandemic and every morning women and girls around the world wake up and collectively spend 200 million hours simply trying to provide for the water needs of their family. This is an issue right now and it is an issue that has real human costs and real economic costs and as climate change progresses, the water crisis will only get worse.
When we talk about water scarcity and how we allocate the water resources that we do have it’s important to keep in mind that only about 10 percent of the water that we consume goes towards human needs so we have to get corporations onboard with replenishing water supplies.
As drought strikes and water scarcity hits, we’re going to have people that need to migrate. We’re going to have climate refugees because of their water supply. But it’s more than that when it comes to water supply and climate. There are carbon issues and then builders using cement and things like that. People don’t realize how much carbon is embedded in water and so if we look at solving this crisis from a mitigation perspective for carbon and climate that’s important to realize as well.
A whopping 25 percent of all the electricity consumed in California goes towards sourcing and moving and treating and distributing water that comes into people’s homes. Globally, we have utilities that lose half of all the water that’s treated because of leaky pipes and poor infrastructure. If we could just save 20 percent of those losses, that would be like taking 211 million cars off the road for a year in the U.S.
Gary White, Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder, Water.org and WaterEquity and Jennifer Schorsch, President, Water.org speak with Bloomberg Businessweek’s Jason Kelly about their efforts to provide safe, clean water to the world’s most vulnerable populations.