Now water gets a footprint too

In: Uncategorized

20 Aug 2008

The annual World Water Week in Stockholm seems to be an occasion for an outpouring of panic about global water shortages. BBC Two’s flagship Newsnight programme has already fallen for it (see Monday’s post) and now, not surprisingly given its environmentalist leanings, the Guardian has too. The lead news story in today’s paper gave credence to the World Wildife Fund’s notion of a water footprint and a related leader called for individuals to reduce their water use.

Such demands get reality upside down. As I have argued before it is the shortage of investment in water infrastructure that is the problem. There is no absolute shortage of water. The underlying problem is poverty rather than a particular chemical compound.

It is strange that the stuff of life itself – carbon and water – is being demonised by environmentalists.