Water, A Fierce Rival To Oil As A Critical Resource – OpEd
By Taha Amir
Concern about water shortages and prices has risen recently, drawing parallels between water and oil as precious commodities. Given the increasing importance of water management and its potential economic value, the phrase “water is the new oil” has gained traction. This article examines water’s growing importance in contrast to oil and its worth, scarcity, and implications.
According to the World Health Organisation, about 2.2 billion people don’t have access to clean, regulated drinking water. It is difficult to provide enough water for people wherever they are, but this is especially true in water-scarce areas of industrialised countries. There is a growing need for water due to population expansion, urbanisation, climate change, and pollution.
Water, a scarce and priceless asset
Water scarcity refers to the overall quantity of water on Earth and the amount of usable water. Even though water covers about 70% of the earth, only 2.5% of it is drinkable. Furthermore, most freshwater is either unavailable because it is locked up in glaciers or underground aquifers, or it is polluted and unusable. Freshwater is essential for human life, agriculture, and industry, yet it is in short supply.
Water’s economic importance has been underappreciated, but that’s starting to change. According to GenderMatters, the water industry accounts for around 10% of global GDP, and businesses, including agriculture, energy production, and manufacturing, rely primarily on clean water. Competition for this limited resource might increase prices as a water shortage develops.
The management of water supplies is rising on the worldwide political agenda, reports The Guardian. When nations run out of water, competition over a few supplies might lead to international conflict. In addition, companies are beginning to appreciate the relevance of sustainable water management practises to their continued success. Effective water management necessitates conservation, infrastructure development, and investment in water treatment technology to provide clean, safe water for everybody.
Oil vs Water: Conflicting Priorities
Oil has always been the world’s most important commodity. Oil’s finite supply and water’s rising profile have prompted a reappraisal of resource significance. Schroders’ research suggests that if the world’s population rises, water may eventually be worth more than crude oil. Droughts and changes in precipitation patterns are only two examples of climate change influencing the world economy and highlighting the need for water management.
Often seen as a nonrenewable resource, water is now appreciated for its scarcity and monetary value. It’s crucial for keeping the planet habitable, enabling economic growth, and preserving ecological harmony. The rising value of water as a commodity might eventually make oil obsolete if a water shortage develops. Governments, corporations, and people must promote sustainable water management practises, invest in infrastructure, and create collaboration to guarantee that everyone has equal access to water. Only by cooperating can we ensure that future generations have access to clean water and avoid the perils of a water shortage.
Taha Amir is a student pursing a BS degree in Defense and Strategic Studies at Quaid-e-Azam University Islamabad. Currently, he is an intern at The Consul Monthly Magazine. Moreover, he has also published articles for the London institute of Peace and research. (lipr.org.uk ). He has recently completed his internship at ISPR (Interservice public relations) Pakistan Army Media wing