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Can the value of water be measured?

What is water worth? Can its value be measured? Who or what determines it?

These simple questions take work to answer. Yet, in our daily lives, we often overlook the role of water; we are unaware of the priceless value of “blue gold” in everything around us. Since water is fundamental to life, society, and economies, it has multiple values and benefits. Still, unlike most other natural resources, its “real” value is tough to define.

Water is a unique and irreplaceable resource whose quantity is limited. In fact, not knowing its value is the main reason it is wasted; just as, not knowing its different uses is considered to be the root or a symptom of its mismanagement. According to the United Nations World Water Development Report 2021, by 2030, the world will face a global water deficit of 40%.

In this sense, the task of raising awareness and educating citizens about water preservation is vital. The availability of this resource is taken for granted, which is why many people wonder why they should pay for water. We are currently facing difficult challenges, aggravated by climate change and population growth, which make political willingness, business innovation and consumer education instruments of social and environmental transformation that are needed to generate the large change in our awareness of the value of water.

The water footprint can help make us more aware of the water consumption we need in our activities. Water is required to manufacture everything we use, wear, buy, sell and eat. For example, approximately 15,000 liters of water are needed to produce one kilogram of beef; one kilogram of rice needs 2,497 liters, and one kilogram of chocolate, 17,196 liters of water. Also, 10,000 liters of water are used to obtain a kilogram of cotton, and about 8,000 liters of water are consumed to make a pair of jeans.

This indicator is used as a basis to achieve more efficient water management. The value of water changes depending on its location, its level of abundance or scarcity, its quality and its availability and also depends on the purpose for which it is used and the benefits generated by these uses.

On the one hand, the agri-food industry uses the largest part of the world’s freshwater resources. On average, agriculture uses 70% of the water that is extracted globally. In this sense, the use of this resource for agricultural purposes is a central theme in any debate on water resources and food security. Food security has long been a challenge for human societies and in the coming decades, will become an increasingly important global issue.

The value given to this resource for food production, despite efforts over the past 30 years, is very low compared to its value in other uses of water, such as domestic and industrial uses. In this sense, a transformation in water management for the food system is necessary if we want to achieve most of the targets of SDG 2 by 2030.

On the other hand, a large amount of water also goes to the industrial sector. It is impossible to dispense with this resource in industry because many of the products and objects that we use in our day to day lives could not be produced without it.

Water is used in all industries regardless of their purpose, whether to build cars, manufacture drugs or manage waste. The industry uses between 10% and 20% of the volume used, but industrial consumption of water varies depending on the industry in terms of the amount and type of water used.

There are different methods for treating water; selecting the most suitable one will depend on the quality of the water to be treated and the degree of purity that is required, which always depends on the process in which it is going to be used.

There is enough water for everyone, as long as we manage it efficiently. In this sense, at Almar Water Solutions, we offer effective solutions to avoid shortages and produce quality water, without affecting the environment.

At Almar Water Solutions we offer water solutions and services for industry, in sectors such as mining, textiles, oil and gas, as well as energy and animal feed, among others. We also produce unconventional water resources for both agriculture and the household sector. This enables us to provide quality water, in different ranges and characteristics, for all types of clients, using cutting-edge technology and guaranteeing successful results.

Water in Agriculture. The World Bank
UN World Water Development Report 2021: Valuing Water. UNESCO World Water Assessment Programme.
Product Gallery. Water Footprint Network.

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