Archive for the ‘Clean Water’ Category

Green Water - Water Scarcity Drives Innovation

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

They say that necessity is the mother of invention, and this is true of water supplies as in other areas.  A drought was formally declared in California (June 5, 2008) by Governor Schwarzenegger, triggering conservation measures and assistance for those in agriculture affected by the drought, but stopping short of rationing.  For now at least.  The problem with water supplies is not just about this month or this year though, but long term trends, with declining water supplies exacerbated by continued growth in arid regions like the US Southwest.  Increasing the cost of water is inevitable, according to some.  The San Diego Union Tribune reported that rate hikes are already underway in some areas, and more are likely in the future. 

At the Cleantech Investment Briefing in San Diego (June 5 2008), Peter Hsiao of the global law firm Morrison & Foerster ( discussed the future of water as a resource and of innovation to guarantee future supplies.  As it is, water supplies in the US have been heavily subsidized and kept artificially low for decades, not reflecting water’s true cost, and the increasing scarcity of this essential resource.  With water kept so cheap, there has been little incentive for conservation or for innovation.  Continued scarcity of water though is driving the cost to consumers to better reflect its true cost, driving conservation as well as investment in new innovations.  “Scarcity [of water] is inevitable,” Hsiao commented.  With the right incentive though, so is the opportunity for entrepreneurs who help solve this essential resource issue.  We can, and will, conserve water in response to cost and regulation, but the need for water is guaranteed.