Brian Wallace, Founder & President, NowSourcing
Water is the most important resource on Earth. Humans need it for all sorts of daily activities, from cooking to bathing to drinking. While over 70% of the Earth’s surface is covered in water, less than 0.5% of that water is usable for human needs. To put that amount into perspective, there is half a teaspoon of “consumable” water for every 26 gallons of all other water. The US uses a lot of water; 322 billion gallons a day. Our water supply is impacted by all areas of life, from climate change to health to technology.
Proper watershed management protects people, plants, and animals. Were western states to reduce at home water consumption, they could save the lives of several endangered species, including grizzly bears. Unfortunately due to the progression of climate change, some alterations to the water supply have become inevitable. Water loss is expected to rise from 12% in 2005 to 41% in 2060. Rising sea levels compromise freshwater sources with salt deposits. Warmer temperatures let bacteria grow faster, which causes disease. Due to uncertain rain and evaporation patterns, 1 in 4 children will live in water stressed areas by 2040.
Water is critical to human health. Yet in America today, more than 21 million people drink water that violates US health standards. Water picks up a variety of contaminants from the surrounding environment, including pesticides, heavy metals, and fluorides. Contaminated water is a sure fire way to spread diseases like cholera and dysentery. Every year in the United States, water borne diseases create 7.15 million illnesses and cause 6,630 deaths. This costs the country $3.3 billion in healthcare expenses. Altogether, nearly $260 billion is lost every year thanks to a lack of water sanitation.
Water and technology are more integrated than people think. Big tech companies require an enormous amount of water to maintain operations, with Google alone needing 15.79 billion liters a year. Our world consumes 6 times the amount of water it did a century ago, mainly due to technology. Cars alone take over 39,000 gallons to produce each. Yet terrible as this all sounds, technology can also be put to work to create water innovations. Current areas of study include water filtration, pollution abatement, and vapor condensation. Preserving the available supply of potable water is a matter of preserving life on Earth, especially (but not exclusively) human life.
About the Author: Brian Wallace is the Founder and President of NowSourcing, an industry leading infographic design agency in Louisville, KY and Cincinnati, OH which works with companies ranging from startups to Fortune 500s. Brian runs #LinkedInLocal events, hosts the Next Action Podcast, and has been named a Google Small Business Adviser for 2016-present. Follow Brian Wallace on Linked