People worry about the soaring oil price. Well, oil is a very important resource; it is required for chemistry, energy, mobility and it fuels globalization. With oil supplies being limited, mankind will face serious problems in the future unless alternatives are available in an adequate amount. Disrupted oil supplies would force any country into a severe crisis – a deadly threat to the economy. Most things that surround you wouldn’t be there if there were no oil. Be it the keyboard or the heating.Once there was a time when mankind managed without oil. Of course, the living standard of that time cannot be compared with today’s, but this shows that we can survive without oil.But there is a resource that we depend on even more than on oil. And as far as I know, there is no market for it as it is for oil. However, it is a necessity for life and nobody could cut its consumption of it. Guessed what I’m talking about? – Water. More precisely: Drinking water.
A disruption of drinking water supply for more than two days would be disastrous. Nobody can survive – depending on the temperature – two to ten days without water. This is obvious, but water supply doesn’t seem to be high on the agenda of most people. They are not aware of the importance of proper water supply. The more shocking it is that water reservoirs are exploited and polluted in large parts of the world without any serious consideration of the consequences. If the supply of water that is safe for drinking is insecure, the consequences can be dangerous. A disruption of water supply will result in uncontrollable violence. If wars are fought for oil, wars for water seem to be unavoidable. Imagine this: A river flows through two countries in a dry area and it is the lifeline for the people living there. The people living near the source decide to use the water for expanded irrigation instead of leaving it flow away. Or another possible incident, a government decides to reroute the river to pressurize the government of the other country. Would the people of this country have any other chance to survive than starting a war? They wouldn’t have a choice. Either die without water or fight for it.
As water is (besides oxygen) the most important nutrient for humans and the body loses water through sweating and respiration, a sufficient amount of clean water is the number one requirement for life.
Especially some countries in Asia struggle to provide safe drinking water and investors have realized that water could be their next big business. More about that tomorrow.