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Jun 14, 2018 / Richard Hall

Safeguarding access to water

According to one estimate, it will take an investment of $449 billion a year to achieve the water availability targets set out by the United Nations for 2030.

Another estimate puts the total required at $6,700 billion.

Today, the World Health Organisation and Unicef calculate that 2.1 billion people still don’t have access to safe drinking water and 4.5 billion lack adequate sanitation.

The financial world is taking more note and some have gone so far as to characterise water as the ‘new oil’ or ‘blue gold’.

In fact, the Chief Executive of Suez has predicted that water ‘could become more valuable than oil’.

His assessment is a stark warning. “Companies will have to rely on wastewater recycling or desalination … If astronauts can drink their own recycled urine, then we can also drink treated waste water. From ‘toilet to tap’ is a challenge for the public to accept, whereas from ‘showers to flowers’ does appeal.”

I’ve always thought this will be increasingly reflected in the valuations of protected natural water sources, but possibly more in the long term than the short term.

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