Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

The value of water today is profoundly important, no matter where you happen to be on the globe.


Water — The Earth’s Essential 21st Century Resource

The value of water today is profoundly important, no matter where you happen to be on the globe.

Mali: Mariama Oumara Dicko walks with yellow and orange bucket to get water. Source:

The value of water today is profoundly important, no matter where you happen to be on the globe.

Start first with these American perspectives, where we have always had it pretty good:

  • The deathbed words of a Wyoming rancher to his son: “Sell anything if you have to, except the water.”
  • “The point is that despite heroic efforts and many billions of dollars, all we have managed to do in the arid West is turn a Missouri-size section green — and that conversion has been wrought mainly with nonrenewable groundwater.” – Mark Reisner, Cadillac Desert, The American West and Its Disappearing Water

Then there are these world perspectives – drawn from places where access to water is no easy task:

  • The average distance that women in Africa and Asia walk to collect water is six kilometres and the weight of water they carry on their heads is about 20kgs – equivalent to the average airport luggage allowance. Today 1.1 billion people still do not have adequate access to safe water and 2.4 billion people are without appropriate sanitation.
  • Mariama Oumara Dicko lives in an isolated village in Mali. Scarce water supplies during the dry season forces her to go out three times a day, every day, to collect dirty water from manmade ponds. Each journey takes three hours.”
  • Tibetan prime ministerial and parliament elections are being keenly watched by more than 47% population of the world that survives on water whose sources are in Tibet. As many as 20 rivers in 10 countries are getting water emanating from Tibet and in the absence of any water sharing agreement with China, they cannot ensure uninterrupted water supply in these countries, speaker of Tibetan parliament-in-exile Penpa Tsering told The Times of India.

Investigative journalist Charles Fishman has just published an important book about water, The Big Thirst. It is one of those books that can be considered a critical read, especially for those wanting to understand water as a necessity for life and its growing economic value.

Yesterday he posted a lengthy article for Fast Company addressing many issues about this complex subject:Why GE, Coca-Cola, and IBM Are Getting Into the Water Business.”

He cites Michell Wool in Salisbury, located in South Australia, Australia’s driest state, which gets a mere 18 inches of rain a year, less than Flagstaff, AZ. Not far back, the company was washing all its wool in the same water Salisburians were using to shower and make coffee — tap water.

That is, until Michell and his colleagues started feeling “…the first tickles of something most of us are utterly unfamiliar with: water insecurity. Just because the big supply pipe from statewide water utility SA Water was coming into the plant and Michell had been buying $1 million (AUD) worth of water a year, that didn’t mean that in a serious drought, the price wouldn’t rise, the supply wouldn’t be sharply limited, or both.”

That was when Salisbury town leaders explored other methods for obtaining and distributing water, like a more effective disposal system of storm-water runoff that was collected in drains and culverts, before being piped untreated into the ocean six miles west.

“The town started a new kind of water utility, and Michell Wool became its biggest customer,” writes Fishman – once of many example worth the read.

He points out other corporations with water-intensive businesses, such as Coca-Cola — but also those whose water dependence is less obvious, like GE and IBM. “They all have that same tickle of anxiety about water security. For business, water management is fast becoming a key strategic tool.”

Mr. Fishman’s tome is a solid place to begin understanding how this tool is working.

Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Former Tesla Battery Expert Leading Lyten Into New Lithium-Sulfur Battery Era — Podcast:

I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it! We just don't like paywalls, and so we've decided to ditch ours. Unfortunately, the media business is still a tough, cut-throat business with tiny margins. It's a never-ending Olympic challenge to stay above water or even perhaps — gasp — grow. So ...
If you like what we do and want to support us, please chip in a bit monthly via PayPal or Patreon to help our team do what we do! Thank you!
Written By

is a writer, producer, and director. Meyers was editor and site director of Green Building Elements, a contributing writer for CleanTechnica, and is founder of Green Streets MediaTrain, a communications connection and eLearning hub. As an independent producer, he's been involved in the development, production and distribution of television and distance learning programs for both the education industry and corporate sector. He also is an avid gardener and loves sustainable innovation.


You May Also Like


Australians love their Teslas. Over 4,400 were sold in May — 3,178 Model Y and 1,298 Model 3 electric vehicles. It is sad to...

Clean Power

In this time of global cost of living crisis, community housing tenants in Adelaide’s north will enjoy reduced power bills following the installation this...

Clean Transport

Australia’s Woolworths Group, which is not related to South Africa’s Woolworths, has announced that it aims to make all its home delivery trucks 100%...


Brisbane, Queensland, has won the bid for the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic games. These games are the first required to be “climate positive.” In...

Copyright © 2023 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.