World pays homage to water as experts warn of looming scarcity crisis

As the competitive tension between business and nations grow, and the population continues to rise, the perception of water as an unlimited resource will become out of date, say experts at the University of Leicester.

According to the university’s marketing and consumption lecturer Georgios Patsiaouras, in the coming century water will become like petrol – a scarce commodity of huge demand and limited supply.

Released to coincide with World Water Day, Patsiaouras’ comments follow research conducted with two colleagues, Professor Michael Saren and Professor James Fitchett, on the management of water.

The academics argue that managing markets for goods and commodities once considered abundant is becoming a major marketing challenge.

They suggest that the commercialisation of public water in a variety of countries, the growth of water banks, and the international exchange of water resources will grow. This will create competitive tension between firms and nations and as the global population continues to rise – and becomes more affluent – water demand will increase.

As a result, the experts argue that the old perception among economists that water resources are unlimited is void.

Patsiaouras, Saren and Fitchett argue that several important issues have been only superficially examined so far. These include the balance between water demand and supply, sustainable market development and the ecologically responsible exchange of water resources.

According to the experts, Governments face a dilemma – they can let the right to fresh water become increasingly unequal, or they can develop public policies fostering a sustainable consumption culture. To do that, they need to revise free-market transactions so that they integrate ecological and social considerations in the economic management of water.

Conor McGlone

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