About six weeks ago, millions of homeowners across Texas suddenly found their water to be possibly contaminated—or lost access to it entirely—when freezing temperatures and the state’s decrepit infrastructure led to widespread blackouts.
Last week, on the other side of the planet, Taiwan cut water supplies to areas including a key hub of semiconductor manufacturing, thanks to the worst drought in decades.
These back-to-back crises are emblematic of a global catastrophe that is only now getting the attention it deserves. And unlike other calamities that may recede over time, this one is only going to get worse. The World Health Organization estimates that in less than four years, half of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed areas.
“These risks are only expected to grow as climate change effects intensify,” said Thomas Schumann, the founder of Thomas Schumann Capital, a firm that’s created investable water indexes for the U.S. and Europe. “Not only that, but the business costs associated with these risks are projected to be $300 billion…or five times greater if left unaddressed.”
The world is in a water crisis, & children’s lives and futures are at risk. Today, over 1.42 billion people – including 450 million children – live in areas of high or extremely high water vulnerability.
— UN-Water (@UN_Water) March 29, 2021