We're running out of water, and the consequences could be dire
Posted on April 18, 2016
Newsweek has republished an article that was originally published by Reveal about the geopolitical ramifications of water shortage.
Normally at i2O we talk about the challenges that utilities face: increasing population size and urbanisation, ageing network infrastructure and more extreme weather events, an ageing workforce, more demanding customers, and static or declining revenues.
But Nathan Halverson’s article makes the point that these challenges are having a much bigger impact from water riots in Yemen to King Abdullah’s decree that all wheat production in Saudi Arabia will cease this year, and other water-intensive crops such as hay should be phased out, to conserve what is left of the country’s groundwater. There may still be water, but reliance on other countries to provide food staples is no less a challenge than, for example, Germany’s dependence on Russian gas.
Perhaps the King thought it was the lesser of two evils. Water shortage causes food shortage, the article argues, and that leads to increasing food prices which pushes more people into poverty. Analysts have identified this as the spark for the Arab Spring revolution in several countries. Not the kind of Spring harvest Saudi Arabia would welcome.
It’s pleasing to think that i2O’s smart water network solutions are helping to bring geopolitical stability as well as solutions to utilities’ challenges.