CHICAGO — Veolia Water launched GrowingBlue.com, a data-driven resource that is designed to help municipalities, businesses, and consumers gain a better understanding of today’s and tomorrow’s global and local water challenges and best practices. Focused on nature’s essential but often forgotten element — water — GrowingBlue.com uses a variety of tools, including animated maps, infographics, and case studies, to provide a visually compelling, user-friendly representation of the current state of water in 180 countries. The site also includes possible water availability scenarios in 2050 and the intrinsic link between water and economic prosperity, societal stability, and environmental sustainability.
Urban, domestic, industrial, and agricultural sectors worldwide are competing for increasingly limited water supplies, and communities are being forced to reconsider the future of their economic and population growth. Currently, 2.5 billion people (36 percent of the world’s population) live in water-stressed regions, while more than 20 percent of the global GDP is already produced in risky, water-scarce areas. According to new data presented on the GrowingBlue.com site, almost half of the world’s economy and 4.8 billion people, roughly half the world’s expected population, could be located in regions facing water limitations by 2050.
“Water is one of the most critical factors in determining how and at what pace our world can support humanity’s continued growth,” said Laurent Auguste, president and CEO of Veolia Water Americas. “The economic implications of the absence of water are no less profound than the environmental or societal implications. GrowingBlue.com examines water from all three perspectives, while providing real intelligence on more effectively managing this uniquely vital resource. Our local and global water challenges often stem from a lack of public awareness, long-term planning and proper water resource management. Only by changing today’s approach to water resource management and water productivity can we ensure a prosperous future. This path — one that is sustainable and ‘blue’ — will help ensure a better world for the next generation.”
GrowingBlue.com consists of three primary sections:
1) The Growing Blue Tool — A one-of-a-kind summary of the current state of water in 180 countries worldwide, as well as an initial focus on 50 U.S. states and major cities, which translates complex data gathered from a number of resources into a series of animated maps and benchmarks. Facts and figures accompanying each map provide analysis and rank the region’s water stress; municipal, agricultural and industrial water use; and condition of the current water delivery infrastructure. The information, including all data in its original spreadsheet format, is packaged into a PDF for water management officials and government leaders to download and use as a resource.
2) 2050 Scenarios — Presents different economic, social and environmental scenarios that communities and companies worldwide could face in 2050 based on the implementation of sustainable water management practices versus “business as usual” approaches.
3) Implications of Growth — A candid, data-driven assessment of water’s economic, environmental and social impact that includes real-world examples of the costs, trade-offs and potential solutions to a variety of water challenges.
Veolia Water, in collaboration with Global Water Intelligence, was the main underwriter of the site, in consultation with industry colleagues, scientists, academia, and non-governmental organizations such as Clean Water America Alliance and the International Food Policy Research Institute.
"People often overlook the fact that water is an economic issue as well as an environmental one, and because we miss the economic dimension there is a real danger that the environmental challenge will be much greater,” said Christopher Gasson, publisher of Global Water Intelligence. “What Growing Blue does is put the economic importance of water center stage, and by doing so makes the case for the kind of smart investment in infrastructure that is going to both protect the environment and support local economic improvements in the long term.
"We have allowed rivers to run dry, aquifers to become salty, and networks to become leaky and unsafe, but still most people seem to see this as the inexorable process of environmental change. I hope that by focusing on the economic impact of our failure to invest in water, we can redefine the solutions to the crisis. If we can put a price tag on our failure to act, then we don’t need to stand there immobilized by the horror of the environmental destruction."
In addition to the visual representations of the current and future states of water, GrowingBlue.com also contains:
• case studies from around the world, addressing water challenges and potential solutions for mitigating risks;
• updated news on water-related issues, as well as white papers and other resource materials; and
• links to other leading water-focused websites.