The overall water market is grossly fragmented by geography, technology and industry. Investment is often scarce. That’s a tough cocktail; however, technology and water are learning a new mixology, which I only see improving over the coming years for several reasons. First, water pricing has increased and will likely continue to do so while balancing the “human right to water” needs. Second, “hidden” costs of water are becoming more visible, particularly to corporations, as climate change influences weather patterns that impact the increasing global population through hurricanes, floods and water scarcity. Finally, we are starting to see headlines tell the woes of corporations facing water scarcity and subsequent damage to their reputation, creating real risk to their social license to operate.
We have seen industry sectors take beatings to their brand reputation, for environmental and social issues. It’s water’s turn. Scarcity and poor stewardship of water is increasingly becoming headline material. Obviously, you can’t run a beverage factory without water, but many businesses are reliant on access to water that is less obvious. Whether water is a component of a product or used in heating, cooling or operating processes, it’s a common link between countless otherwise disparate businesses.
Corporations are showing interest in water innovation because the stakes have become so high. Corporate will, combined with that of community stakeholders, drives entrepreneurial talent to focus on water technology solutions. It is incumbent upon all of us in sustainability, water, technology and general industry to make innovation the norm versus the exception. No matter what you want to drink, you can’t make it without water.
I explore water and innovation mixology in depth in Chapter 3 of Water Tech.by