Behare Bajraktari, Berlin
Journalist & Publicist /Specialized in Climate Change and Environmental Journalism
Climate change and economic growth remain two biggest concerns facing the World Water Summit this year, and sharp organiser Christopher Gasson thinks water is key to both. Christopher is an authority on finance and water markets, with a degree in politics and economics. At Oxford University, he worked as a financial journalist and investment banker, before starting Global Water Intelligence in 2002. Journalists and the media play a key role in climate change, water issues and the environment as a whole.
Innovators and investors from some of the most developed countries gathered in Berlin to present their ideas, innovative technologies, but above all to orient the world in the water sector. At the Summit, there was talk of large sums of money, because investment in water technologies and infrastructure are expensive and require large investments, but since private companies cannot do this alone, they persistently seek partnership with the public sector – with governments.
All this was said to be done for climate response, while at the same time this investment paves the way for new directions of economic growth in the industrial water sector.
Industrial water alongside climate change
While one in three people in the world are facing thirst due to lack of water, some countries are ‘covered’ with water either with drinking water lakes, river basins or from industrial water production. Here we can also talk about our country which is under ‘water stress’ in terms of water sources, but on the other hand we do not have ‘water stress’ for industrial water. Industrial water is extracted from natural sources even in parks protected by law where companies have set up their factories to produce water.
The question can rightly be asked why there is a lack of drinking water, while on the other hand there is an abundance of industrial water where the water is extracted from natural sources.
It seems that every country has at least one shortage of resources such as the Summit’s host country, Germany, which needs to import liquefied natural gas, but its capital Berlin is rich in water resources, innovative technology, and a developed economy. But can Germany compensate for its water with other natural resources? In this Summit, the company “Siemens” said that they are ready to offer solutions.
Could interstate water transmission be the solution?
At the Summit, hopes are raised by some companies that interstate water transmission can be done, but it needs big investments in both innovation and finance. So, how can this be done when there are technical and commercial losses of water all over the countries?!
For water transmission and distribution, on average, up to 25-30% of a utility’s water is lost in the network, due to leaks and other types of water, according to the World Bank. These losses cost water companies huge sums of money, not only in lost revenue, but also in the cost of treating and pumping the water that seeps into the ground. These systems are often characterized by highly distributed and remote locations that require sophisticated control and monitoring solutions, this condition belongs to less developed or poor countries.
However, some German companies said that they are ready to give the world a solution to the issue of drinking water, industrial water, and this can perhaps be done by exchanging natural resources. But with what natural resources?
Tomorrow: ‘Swapping’ water for ‘green’ hydrogen?