Name this critical, and declining, natural resource: It is pumped through pipelines and delivered by trucks. It is essential to our daily lives and to every business process and function. Its uneven distribution around the globe leads to vast chasms in countries’ development and economies. Wars have been fought over it.
If you’ve read the title of this post, you may already have figured out that the resource in question is not oil, but water. And while much attention has been focused of late on oil prices and crises, a water crisis has been quietly brewing, as various regions tap out the water resources available for commercial, residential, and municipal needs.
Experts believe such shortages -- whether brought on by climate conditions or increased demand -- will become increasingly commonplace around the world, and the impacts on communities, businesses, and regional economies could be severe.
Now the Pacific Institute, the leading think-tank on water issues, has issued a landmark report on the potential for saving water in urban California. Among other things, it calls on businesses to start doing risk assessments on water, and to start disclosing the results to shareholders. The underlying implication: If increasing water shortages affect plant operations or cause other disruptions, it could impact shareholder value.
Meanwhile, for a wealth of information and tools for companies on saving water, consult the Water Resources page on GreenBiz.com.