What Water’s Worth

Nearly 200 years ago, Lord Byron wrote, “Till taught by pain, men really know not what good water’s worth.” Humanity still has not fully grasped water’s value, but the impending water crisis is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore – especially for those who are already feeling its effects.

SINGAPORE/ATLANTA – In the early nineteenth century, Lord Byron wrote in Don Juan that “Till taught by pain, men really know not what good water’s worth.” Nearly 200 years later, humanity still does not seem to understand water’s value, exemplified in decades of poor water management and governance practically everywhere. But the impending water crisis is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore – especially for those who are already feeling its effects.

To be sure, some improvements in water management have been made in recent years. But they have come incrementally, at far too slow a pace to address the problem effectively.

To help kick-start progress, major multinational companies like Nestlé, Coca-Cola, SABMiller, and Unilever – which have long emphasized to their investors the challenge that water scarcity poses for their businesses, not to mention the communities in which they operate – are working to improve water availability, quality, and sustainability. Their success will require an innovative strategy that upends entrenched assumptions about – and approaches to – water-related problems.

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