We’ve been seeing a lot of articles popping up online lately talking about the future of water. Just this week, The Weather Channel posted an article about water ownership in the United States. One of the front page articles on BBC News today is about huge freshwater aquifers in sub-Saharan Africa. UPI recently praised Milwaukee for the way we market water resources. These articles and many others offer important insight into the shift of global attention toward water. And the timing couldn’t have been more perfect.
We now live in a highly interconnected world that social theorists refer to as the “global village.” The theory states that the ease of travel, instant access to world news, and unprecedented modes of online communication serve to negate the geographical distances between people and nations. The global village makes international relationships possible and spurs innovation. A recent example of how this theory applies to Milwaukee is the story of a hotel in Dubai implementing energy saving technology created by a firm here in Wauwatosa. Businesses are quickly learning that the recipe for success in the global village is being able to meet the needs of people all across the world, and what need is more globally pressing than water?
According to UN Water Statistics:
- Water use has been growing at more than twice the rate of population increase in the last century.
- 145 nations have territory within a transboundary basin.
- Over 1.4 billion people live in river basins where the use of water exceeds minimum recharge levels.
- Water withdrawals are predicted to increase by 50 percent by 2025 in developing countries, and 18 percent in developed countries.
- By 2025, 1.8 billion people will be living in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity, and two-thirds of the world population could be under stress conditions.
Milwaukee already knows the importance of water; we’re ahead of the game. The Milwaukee Water Council was formed over five years ago on a strong foundation of water related business and stewardship that has been around for decades. Water has always been an integral part of our rich history. Now, as others start to look to capitalize on the importance of water, they will be looking at Milwaukee as the leading example for how to integrate communities around water technology, infrastructure, education and sustainability. Water is a resource that Milwaukee already knows a lot about and one that will only continue to grow in importance. In a global village that is dependent on water for survival, what we do in Milwaukee has a rippling effect that is felt across the world.