By as soon as 2020, roughly 30 to 40% of the world will experience water scarcity – a number that will rapidly begin to accelerate due to climate change. By 2025, nearly 1.8 billion people will live in affected areas and if current trends are not reversed, only 60% of the planet will have fresh drinking water by 2030.
While it’s certainly true that the future of water is difficult to predict as it stands today, that doesn’t mean we have to take this situation laying down. In fact, there is an incredible effort currently underway – both in Australia and around the world.
Challenges Are Meant to Be Overcome
As stated, water is a significant concern both globally and in Australia and will likely remain so for generations to come. As such, many companies across industries, particularly construction, turn to consulting companies like us in an effort to both help reduce the negative environmental impacts of their actions and improve quality of work. At EMM, for example, we employ a wide range of approaches to assess both surface water and groundwater – all in an effort to collect as much actionable information as possible to advise our clients in the best way that we can.
Generally speaking, data collection is usually the biggest hurdle to overcome – this is due to both the significant capital investment, along with the large amount of time it takes to “get it right.” However, we are able to overcome these challenges in two distinct ways.
First, in an effort to better maximise the efficiency of our data collection techniques, we proactively try to determine what will provide the most value and prioritise things in that direction. We approach all of our assessments that have limited data in a way that allows us to appropriately represent the environment, something that often lends itself to the use of modern analytical methods.
Likewise, our water modeling team is always at the forefront of what modern technology has to offer, using only the latest and most powerful software and computer hardware available. Because we are required to successfully balance both model complexity with reasonable simulation times, we occasionally use innovative methods such as cloud based technology, to reduce that time while maintaining the required complexity that is fit for purpose.
At EMM, we work with large data sets all the time. As such, we regularly use computer programming to develop the types of tools that streamline the data preparation and analysis processes. To put it another way, our needs are as such that the tools necessary to get the job done literally didn’t exist – so we were forced to create them ourselves, to the benefit of everyone involved.
The Future of Water Hasn’t Been Written Yet
EMM is not alone in these efforts and when you consider the groundbreaking work being done all over the world on a daily basis, that is absolutely something to be thankful for. We’re living in an era where it will soon be possible for researchers to use artificial intelligence to predict the outbreak of water wars as resources become increasingly scarce. We have more potential avenues to explore that can help mitigate risk from the coming global water crisis than ever before. Organisations like Future Earth and their Water Future efforts are making incredible progress, providing the knowledge and the support needed to accelerate transformations into a more sustainable “water world” around the globe.
But more than anything, we’re able to use today’s technology to better plan for Australia’s water future in a way that brings clarity to a much-needed long-term vision for our country as a whole. The demand for a safe, secure supply chain of clean drinking water delivered in a reliable way is only going to get more important as we approach 2050 and now, thanks to technology, we may be able to rise up and meet that demand after all.