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Higher price for water would counter shortages

Higher price for water would counter shortages

The former U.N. climate chief who has advocated putting a price on carbon emissions says water also should carry an appropriate cost.
In a world of shrinking fresh water supplies, nations, companies and individuals should be aware of the value of water, Yvo de Boer told a water seminar Thursday.
Accounting for the entire supply chain, it takes 75 liters (20 gallons) to make a glass of beer; 2,700 liters (713 gallons) to manufacture a T-shirt; and 16,000 liters to produce a kilogram of beef (1,920 gallons per pound).
At the same time, U.N. figures say about 2.5 billion people, nearly half the Earth's population, have no access to sanitation.
"Part of the reason we are seeing so much wastage of water in a number of countries is because water is inadequately priced," De Boer said. Few countries have economic incentives to use water sensibly, he said.
Water supplies are growing less reliable in many places around the world at a time when the global population and food demands are growing. As local climates change, scientists say water shortages will become more severe in some of the poorest countries, which could lead to mass migrations and international conflict.
De Boer, who resigned as head of the U.N. climate change secretariat in July, is now a consultant for KPMG, advising companies on making their operations more sustainable.
Calculating the input of water in the production process _ a product's water footprint _ should become standard practice. "There are parts of the world where perhaps water footprinting will be more important than carbon footprinting," he said.
De Boer did not say how the price of water should be set, although it should be determined according to local conditions. He recalled seeing a sign over a toilet in a Middle Eastern country that said, "When you flush, remember a liter of water costs more than a liter of petrol."


Updated : 2021-05-18 18:39 GMT+08:00