I don’t agree with the assumption that we must have economic growth or population growth and therefore we must need more water. This is the fundamental flaw in this projection. We can’t accept continual growth or consumption, this is the mantra of corporations trying to satisfy shareholders and thinking very one dimensionally. Growth does not equal prosperity or happiness. The biggest change that I think needs to happen to secure water supplies is to move from conventional to regenerative agriculture and fix the broken water cycle. The idea that we prospect for more water resources is ludicrous and no different from the idea that we prospect for more fossil fuels. Let’s be honest about this.
As water resource planners, there are some things that are outside our influence like whether the population and overall economy is growing. However we shouldn’t necessarily accept that a growing population and economy automatically leads to an increase in water demand. Instead we are looking for water efficiency measures and reductions in consumption per person to offset any growth pressures and reduce overall water demand.
I’ve posted more about regenerative agriculture here. Such measures can help with reducing water demand but also bring other environmental benefits. We are actively looking for opportunities to meet water resources needs and bring environmental benefits. So if anyone has ideas for particular catchments please let us know.
Seeking opportunities to reduce demand is the first place we are looking to meet our future water needs, but there may be times or places when this can’t meet all our needs. So we also need to think about other options.