Nowadays, the water crisis is one of the most serious problems faced by humanity. For example, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) (2017) states that approximately 1.1 billion people do not have constant access to water. It creates difficulties for agricultural development, causes a high prevalence of diseases such as cholera, typhoid fever, and diarrhea, and increases mortality rate among children (World Wildlife Fund, 2017). Its devastating effects on health cannot be underestimated, and before proposing any solution, it is vital to understand the nature of its occurrence.
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In the first place, the water crisis is majorly caused by climate change and associated environmental phenomena such as the drought that is currently present in different parts of the planet (Silva, Galvao, & Silva, 2015). Along with that, another potential reason is the insufficient management of water resources, as governmental authorities and other organizations often use them for wrongful purposes while the global population continues to grow (Silva et al., 2015). A combination of these factors implies that recommendations have to focus on approaches that will resolve the fundamental problems indicated previously. Currently, there is an array of solutions that include conservation of water supply, converting seawater to freshwater, water transportation, and reusing water for various purposes (e.g. in the agricultural sector) (Hadadin, Qaqish, Akawii, & Bdour, 2010). These solutions are sustainable, but the major problem is the lack of finances. Consequently, should the water crisis be reconsidered and be reviewed from the angle of investors?
Purpose of the Paper
Based on the factors mentioned above, it could be said that the primary goal of the paper is to discuss the issue of the water crisis, as it is of paramount importance for the survival of the planet and humanity. At the same time, it is essential to describe this issue in detail, as, otherwise, it will not be possible to review critical constituents of this situation. Today, an array of solutions exists, but, in the context of this paper, it will be rational to discuss it from marketing and investors’ perspectives. In the end, conclusions are drawn to summarise the main findings of the paper.
Description and Analysis of the Problem
Apart from a clearly presented background of the water crisis, it is of critical importance to unveil additional details. As was mentioned earlier, at least 2.1 billion people do not have constant access to fresh water supplies while 2.7 billion experience difficulties every month (World Wildlife Fund, 2017). Today, 70% of the planet Earth is covered with water while only 3% can be used for drinking and consumption (World Wildlife Fund, 2017). These aspects present that water is already a scarce resource that cannot be renewed. Apart from that, its continuous decrease can be explained by global climate changes. For example, the lessening thickness of the ozone layer, global warming, intensive urbanization, and water scarcity tend to interfere while having a negative impact on human health and the environment (Eslamian & Eslamian, 2017; Tilt, 2015). Consequently, a combination of these factors has to be considered of critical significance when developing solutions, as only a complex framework can help resolve the issue of the water crisis.
As was indicated earlier, there is an extended variety of solutions including reserving water and managing its consumption (Hadadin et al., 2010). Apart from their cost-effectiveness, governments still experience problems with financing. For example, this issue majorly exists in countries with insufficient economic development such as Jordan and Tanzania, and this fact implies that the budget is distributed ineffectively. In turn, this situation may also take place in rapidly developing countries such as China due to its high urbanization, lack of city trees, and, consequently, a lower density of the ozone layer (Tilt, 2015). In turn, potential investors may also change their attitudes towards this problem. For example, an economic recession can lead to lower investment in environmental initiatives, as the statements of national expenditure have to be fully reconsidered (Tilt, 2015). A combination of these factors implies that the problem of the water crisis has to be reframed by using a market-focused approach while clearly emphasizing the need to attract the attention of investors to this segment.
In this instance, the role of investors and the whole business segment cannot be underestimated since they can modify the existent situation in a positive way. However, to attract investors, it is necessary to explain that their contribution will be beneficial not only for the environment and their social image but also for their financial performance, growth, and enrichment (Riet, 2015). Thus, it is essential to mention that this sphere will continue its development since apart from the water crisis, other environmental issues will continue to exist. To increase the effectiveness of promotion, governmental authorities, and nature protection funds should work in collaboration and contact potential investors. Creating a strong bond between the business sector, governmental entities, and various funds will help address the issue from a dissimilar angle. In the first place, it will be vital to research the problem, create an action plan, and redesign policies to enhance the existent decision-making procedures. After that, a ranking of the most cost-effective solutions and concepts can be proposed for investors to choose the most appropriate action.
One of the potential solutions is founding a company that will prioritize dealing with environmental problems. Start-ups are often used to deliver innovative ideas to the market while creating additional value for business owners and society simultaneously (Leon & Donoso, 2017). In the context of the water crisis, introducing water purification solutions can be discovered as one of the beneficial ideas since it will be possible to establish businesses in the geographical areas where water scarcity is present. It remains apparent that this concept is majorly appropriate for business enthusiasts, but it will improve the existent situation. Another potential alternative that is linked to the previous solution is to develop funding programs to support the existing environmental start-ups. Apart from slight differences, both of these initiatives will have a positive effect on the current situation and attract the attention of others while generating additional revenues for investors.
Investments and Philanthropy
In turn, other contributions imply investment in the existing projects. In the first place, investors may consider supporting governments financially to plan their budgets effectively. This action is supposed to have a direct reflection on the environment, as resolving this type of problem is one of its core goals. Unfortunately, on the other side, this investment may not be as effective as it seems because, in some countries, the water crisis takes place due to poor financial planning and water management (Silva et al., 2015). Consequently, sponsoring governmental actions does not guarantee that these problems will be solved. Only with the help of the control mechanism and constant check-ups, it will be possible to achieve the desired results.
One cannot underestimate that funds such as WWF also play a critical role in addressing water crisis and other environmental problems (World Wildlife Fund, 2017). For example, WWF has a diversity of projects that attempt to control aspects such as the spread of infection due to the lack of water sanitation and water availability for everyone can also be attractive to investors, but this activity along with giving financial resources to the government can be rather viewed like cases of philanthropy than actual investments. In turn, investing in projects that deal with global warming is also rational due to the dependence between temperature rises and water scarcity, as it will not only address the existent water crisis but also aim at paying attention to other environmental issues.
Lastly, another possibility for investors is to invest in existing projects. Nowadays, there is a variety of companies that provide water technology. For example, desalination with the current market value of $11 billion and 10% annual growth is represented by companies such as AquaVenture, IDE, and Hyflux (Riet, 2015). Meanwhile, other segments cover filtration, industrial water treatment, irrigation, and other ideas (Riet, 2015). This analysis indicates that these businesses experience continuous growth, and investors should consider them as profitable projects in the long-term. It could be said that investing in these ideas is not only mutually beneficial for the environment and financial wealth but also attracts the attention of other potentially interested parties.
To summarise, the water crisis is one of the most important aspects that affect humanity and the environment in a negative way. Its nature is directly linked to the problems with the ozone layer, high levels of urbanization, and ineffective water management. Today, billions of people do not have access to water, and it has negative outcomes on their health including different illnesses, diseases, and chronic medical conditions. The lack of freshwater also increases mortality rates. The government attempts to resolve this problem by creating different solutions such as water purification and conservation. These methods are cost-effective, but the governments or funds do not have enough financial resources to deal with these issues sufficiently. Consequently, reframing this problem and reviewing it from marketing and financial perspectives can contribute to a faster response to the water crisis.
In this instance, attracting the attention of investors by promoting mutual benefits for them and society should be viewed as one of the priorities. After convincing the investors, there are different methods that have to be employed. For example, establishing a new start-up or designing a program to attract and support new talents could be considered as one of the options. However, this solution will be suitable only for business-enthusiasts and entrepreneurs. Investing in funds and supporting governments can also resolve the problem with financing, but, in this case, it is vital to establish monitoring and control tools, as there is a proven ineffective distribution of finances related to the water crisis and low or no return on investment. Lastly, investors can evaluate the existent market opportunities and invest in fast-growing and popular solutions while this option can be viewed as the best one due to its high profitability and impact on the environment.
Eslamian, S., & Eslamian, F. (2017). Handbook of drought and water scarcity: Management of drought and water scarcity. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.
Hadadin, N., Qaqish, M., Akawii, E., & Bdour, A. (2010). Water shortage in Jordan – Sustainable solutions. Desalination, 250(1), 197-202.
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Leon, I., & Donoso, G. (2017). Innovation, start-ups and intellectual property management: Strategies and evidence from Latin America and other regions. New York, NY: Springer.
Riet, H. (2015, August 28). Solutions for the anticipated water crisis offer US $500 billion in sustainable investment opportunities. NN Investment Partners. Web.
Silva, A., Galvao, C., & Silva, G. (2015). Droughts and governance impacts on water scarcity: An analysis in the Brazilian semi-arid. Extreme Hydrological Events, 369(1), 129-134.
Tilt, D. (2015). Dams and development in China: The moral economy of water and power. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.
World Wildlife Fund. (2017). Water scarcity. Web.