During the 20th century, high tech proved to be an enormous source for economic growth. Venture-funded start-ups like Intel, Juniper Networks and Amazon have grown to drive 17% of GNP in the US, and are responsible for similar chunks of economies in countries like Israel.
Innovations like the telephone, fax and personal computer provide tremendous direct benefits. When they were adopted, they redefined the cost structure of business and changed the nature of many industries. Armies of secretaries typed dictation in the 1950s, but today most executives type their own correspondence, primarily via email. They hold staff meetings by cell phone with teams around the world.
The world’s leading corporations will need similar “high tech” innovation to address the water resource challenges they will face over the next few years.