Une valeur à l’eau

SINGAPOUR/ATLANTA – Au début du XIXe siècle, Lord Byron écrivait dans Don Juan que « Jusqu’à ce que la douleur le lui enseigne, l’homme ne sait pas quel trésor est l’eau ». Presque 200 ans plus tard, l’humanité ne semble toujours pas connaître la valeur de l’eau, comme l’ont montré des décennies de mauvaise gestion de l’eau et de la gouvernance dans presque tous les pays. Mais la crise imminente des ressources hydriques devient de plus en plus difficile à ignorer – surtout pour ceux qui en ressentent déjà les effets.

Il est certain que certains progrès ont été réalisés ces dernières années dans la gestion des ressources hydriques. Mais ils se sont déroulés à petit feu, à un rythme beaucoup trop lent pour réellement régler le problème.

Pour stimuler le progrès, de grandes sociétés multinationales comme Nestlé, Coca-Cola, SABMiller et Unilever – qui ont longtemps prévenu avec insistance leurs investisseurs des problèmes que la rareté de l’eau potable représente pour leurs activités, et pour les collectivités dans lesquelles ils ont des usines – étudient des méthodes pour améliorer l’accès, la qualité et la pérennité de l’eau. Pour réussir, elles devront adopter une nouvelle stratégie qui bouscule les idées préconçues sur la problématique de l’eau et les méthodes pour la résoudre.

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