The risk of water shortages to business was first identified three years ago at Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan. Since then, leading investors in the major businesses worldwide have been highlighting the risk that water scarcity poses to operations—not just in the third world through supply chains, but also in key markets in the developed world. Water scarcity and infrastructure breakdown has reached a point where they threaten semi-conductor fabrication and soda manufacturing in Atlanta as much as in India.
But the big surprises that we have been expecting—burst water mains that close huge areas of metropolitan offices, water rationing as a result of depleted reservoirs – have not occurred as we might have expected. The average age of pipes in the US is over 80 years (for equipment with a 50-year life span) and the EPA has identified a $335 Billion gap in our investment in water infrastructure. Still few symptoms of these crises have been heard above the noise of our daily lives.
Not surprisingly, we haven’t seen the movement that we would have expected from corporations to address the concerns of their biggest investors. When water is cheap and abundant, why spend precious time and budget to increasingly implement active water management in their operations?
In Artemis Water Strategy’s work with corporations, we are seeing a small elite group of leaders emerge from a variety of industries. Water management matters today, and now is the time to develop water management best practices before the water crises to come.
The quiet leaders in the blue revolution in business understand that agility to adapt to thirstier times in the future will be a competitive advantage.
The most promising water tech companies are making themselves part of this quiet “blue business revolution.” While innovative water tech products often must first prove themselves in pilot projects at utilities, the speed with which they build their presence in business operations determines how well they realize their potential.
Business has served as the gateway to the full-scale market for any new wave of technology. When business adopts a technology as standard in its operations—from the personal computer to the cell phone, it creates the scale of orders that drive down price per unit and force tech companies to compete to perfect a rugged, user-friendly device.
Artemis Water Strategy believes water technology has the potential to gain the scale that cellular phones or personal computers have reached today.