Presenting at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting
As a Technology Pioneer 2011 and a water technologies leader, focusing on the creation of new water sources by preventing water loss, TaKaDu’s CEO was invited to the “Rethinking Natural Resources” session.
The session, part of the World Economic Forum’s newly launched Risk Response Network, focused on the risk of natural resource scarcity, addressing how the private sector, governments and other stakeholders should view natural resources, especially with regards to production and consumption over the next 30-40 years. Where will the pressures be on natural resources? How are the risks managed?
Pressure will come from a growing world population that wants to live better than the previous generation and will need resources, particularly from the mining industry, to fuel economic development. To meet demand, the industry will require engineering and technical excellency, a holistic approach to economic and sustainable development, and capital, especially as a lot more is required to reach resources deeper in the ground.
While some resources may be harder to extract than in the past, there is no such thing as resource scarcity; cheap resources may be scarce but the resources themselves are not. The problem has to do with resource management and pricing.
The session’s focus was finding out which natural resources are of local and international concern. One of the key resources, is water – which is not the new oil, since there are no alternatives to it, and since its transport is impossible or prohibitive in many cases.
With regards to water, the issue of management of water -both to prevent a wasteful distribution system and to price it in a way that reflects the real cost – was identified by the session participants as an issue.
Scarcity in the water sector is not necessarily the water itself, but in innovative practices and sustainable management. So much of the world’s water is lost in the distribution network and this is not sustainable. If India, for example, would reduce its water loss by 50%, it could sustain its ambitious economic growth for more than a decade.
Water as well as a number of other natural resources, such as forests, biodiversity and clean air, are not reflected in market prices, and this is a challenge when addressing issues of scarcity. Low water prices, for example, will encourage waste as there is no incentive to save, and this will discourage innovation and investment. There is also a need to improve water infrastructure, which many governments around the world have failed to do….
Low water prices, for example, will encourage waste as there is no incentive to save, and this will discourage innovation and investment. There is also a need to improve water infrastructure, which many governments around the world have failed to do.