Planck Foundation



Water supply faces two dangers: Scarcity and pollutions. China is a huge example of a nation where water is certainly available, but the available water is heavy polluted and therefore only usable as transport medium for ships. Governments, farmers, households and industries must joint forces to combat both surface­water and groundwater pollution. Local water pollution is not a Chinese problem. It's a huge global problem. Brussels as capital of economic well developed Europe has only a waste water treatment facility for just several years. Before the realization of this facility the sewage was just dumped in to the river, with all the pollution effects of it. Local clean (and thereby cheap) water is in everybody's benefit. Where local communities and industries pollute rivers, there is some regional solution needed, which is in benefit of all involved. The Nile Basin Initiative is a perfect well function example of this. The Aral Initiative and the Rhine Initiative are other ones. The world can learn a lot of such conflicts preventing and water quality improving initiatives. Rivers and lakes are still the huge, major and cheap suppliers of clean sweet water of the world. The US and Canada have with the Great Lakes a huge reservoir, but pollution has made these reservoirs less attractive. Pollution (easy getting rid of toxic waste) will become less economic attractive than acquiring clean sweet water. Pollution is just a benefit for one, that burdens local, downstream and neighboring local economies. Pollution is one of the few examples where legislation really can make a difference.

Author: Gijs Graafland

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