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One in eight people lack access to safe water supplies

That's 884 million people. The planet is thirsty. Not just for a drop to drink, but for information about how we can be smarter about water in the first place.

The issue is threefold: quantity, quality and energy. As for quantity, the total amount of water on the planet isn’t changing. But this is where quality comes into play. The nature of the water we do have is changing—from where rain falls to the chemical makeup of the oceans is in flux. And these changes are forcing us to ask some very difficult questions about how and where we live and do business.

That invites the issue of energy. We use water for more than drinking. In fact, global industry uses 20 percent of the world's water supply; in the US, it's 46 percent; in China, its 25 percent; India is only about 5 percent. But, according to report by the United Nations, agriculture is the largest consumer of freshwater by far―about 70 percent of all freshwater withdrawals go to irrigated crops.

Every business has a different relationship with water. Some use it to process raw materials and manufacture goods. Some use it to cool or clean equipment. And some use it as a central ingredient in the product they sell. Virtually every business has some sort of water imperative. And some agencies are convinced that soon all public companies will be required to disclose water efficiency in their annual reports. Consequently, most companies have begun to look more closely at their corporate water footprint and ways innovation can help pave the way to competitive differentiation. In fact, a study by the Alliance for Water Efficiency estimates that for every million dollars spent on water efficiency in the United States, we can not only save as much as 10 trillion gallons of water, but also create about 220,000 jobs and increase economic output by as much as $2.8 million.

Every time we interact with water, we change it, redirect it or otherwise alter its state. Though it's a worldwide entity, water is treated as a regional issue. There is no global market and very little international exchange. "Water is about quantity, quality, space and time," says Ian Cluckie, Professor of Hydrology and Water Management at the University of Bristol, in the IBM Global Innovation Outlook report on water management. "Whether you have a big problem or not depends entirely on where you live."



In case you use plastic water tanks, use black or dark blue coloured ones: The Scientific Reason – Dark colours generally absorb the sun’s rays which are useful in purifying the water, due to the UV rays.

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