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The Water Challenge: Preserving a Global Resource

Water is arguably the most important natural resource, essential for both human survival and effective functioning of many industries. As climate variability impacts the availability of freshwater and economic growth puts pressure on global water supplies, households as well as industrial, energy and agriculture sectors are increasingly likely to experience supply disruptions in the near and long term.

The data point to some clear challenges. Only 2.5% of the world’s water is fresh, yet the US depends on it for nearly 90% of withdrawals for public and industrial use. At the same time, groundwater, which is present under the earth’s surface and makes up 30% of all freshwater, is under wide-spread stress, with NASA reporting that a third of major water basins globally are being rapidly depleted by human consumption.

While individuals, governments and other consumer and policy organizations are all instrumental to preserving this precious commodity, the energy industry in particular can have a positive impact on alleviating water shortages. Oil and gas companies, as well as power and water utilities, are ideally placed not only to be more efficient users of water, but also to be pioneers in finding alternative water sources and introducing innovative technologies to counter wastage.

The second in BarclaysImpact Series, this report explores how the energy industry — and, in particular, the oil and gas sector and public utilities — can improve the way it uses and recycles water.

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