In the future it is clear urban water utility companies must prepare to operate in a world which is expected to be utterly different from the one that we are experiencing today. It is necessary to acknowledge and prepare for this.
We know that there is a growing urban population; we know that the impact climate change is now taking effect and that the volatility in water supply can only be partially mitigated by improved efficiency. We have yet to collectively decide how to address the problem.
Water is inter-twined with everything we do; energy, food, health and wellbeing, manufacturing are all dependent on its availability. At the very least we need to start a public conversation about its real role in our lives. We need to understand how people currently value water and then work with them so they understand its true value and all the services it provides.
Providing access to water is one of the greatest challenges we face and one of the defining moral and cultural issues facing the planet. To address it governments must develop national water strategies, businesses must consider the impact of water in their products, and individuals must change their behavior. There should be investment in large scale recycling schemes, green infrastructure should have priority when planning new developments and renovating old: All this at a time of population growth and climate change. No one says it will be easy, but it is most certainly possible.