Water Crisis threats taken on by industry

13 March 2012

Droplets is increasingly gratified that the warnings about the impending water crisis that we and others have consistently made during the past few years, are finally being heeded.  While our Water Affairs Minister, Edna Molewa, attends the World Water Forum meetings dealing with the global water crisis, calls are being made for South African industries to act before it is too late [see WWF6 Website].

About 85% of water-intensive users among the JSE’s Top 100 companies are exposed to water-related risk, with 70% believing that their operations could be directly affected in the near term, a report revealed on Monday.

However, most companies still needed to identify water risk in their supply chains and give higher priority to managing their risks, the Carbon Disclosure Project’s (CDP’s) first ‘Water Disclosure South Africa Report’ highlighted.

The report argued that “when all the country’s water-related facts are considered in detail, it is difficult not to admit that South Africa is already in the grip of a water crisis”.

The report observed that

South Africa’s natural water quality ranked low, and that it was deteriorating at an increasing rate.

This latter point is the fundamental issue that is continually overlooked, i.e. the need to consider quantity AND quality.  There are already indications that suppliers of raw potable water may have to hand over responsibility for some part of the treatment process to the consumer, the “we can supply you with water, but if you want to drink it, you will need to treat it yourself” scenario.  This is closer than many may actually realize.

The great pity is that the penny has taken to long to drop regarding the Water Crisis threat, but at least it appears to have dropped!  Company leaders and shareholders need to get their heads around how water quality issues could hammer their “bottom line” if they do not wake up soon!

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