Op-Ed: An epic victory in the battle for free-flowing rivers
What if you could start using rainwater and other rainwater-harvesting methods to clean, filter, desalinate, and purify drinking water from the polluted sources that our cities have become so dependent on?
If you guessed that I was referring to the massive water shutoffs, you’d be almost correct: the shutoffs are a sign of how little water we use. In fact, in the last two decades, we’ve been using far more water than we’ve taken in.
But the water we do take in doesn’t flow freely and is not always clean. Water pollution is so bad, there is talk of “an era without water.”
What if you didn’t have to choose between drinking water and food? It’s not clear what we would do with free water — certainly there wouldn’t be any more swimming pools, parks, fountains, or lawns. Maybe you’d be out of luck in life and death situations.
We can all be free, according to the new report by the Center for International Forestry Research and the World Resources Institute. They call it the water future: The world is on the cusp of becoming a new water democracy.
The report finds that a world where everyone depends on free and clean water is already here. Every $1 in water investment can add up to US$25 in economic activity. That’s a huge benefit for cities.
It’s also a benefit for people. Water-efficient businesses, such as water parks and spas, bring in $1.7 billion to $2 billion annually. And the report finds that the water future will bring $9 billion to $12 billion in overall benefits to humanity.
The report shows that water, for the first time, is a critical factor in the health and success of any society.
I believe we are on the verge of a new era. The water future is already here —