At this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, the important subject of water was a hot topic. Nestlé Chairman Peter Brabeck-Letmathe authored a paper entitled “Water overuse and waste: addressing the global crisis locally.” The paper drew attention to severe water shortages in a number of areas in the world, such as Mongolia and Tanzania.
While these may seem like remote areas, and remote problems, to us in part of the world, the fact is that water waste and scarcity is a problem that already affects us here at home, and is likely to grow in importance if nothing is done.
The report stressed the fact that there must be many solutions to the big problem. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all method of dealing with the growing water problem. Every country and every local community will have to begin to take the matter seriously and come up with its own way to deal with it.
At Thompson Pipe Group, this is a subject that’s very close to us. We deal with the important subject of infrastructure every day. One of our biggest concerns is the lack of political focus on what we believe is one of the most important matters facing our society today. The trouble is, much of the real problem is buried—quite literally—and can easily be ignored or put off.
The fact is that as a country, we simply don’t invest enough today in our infrastructure. Our water network is old; leaks and failures are becoming more and more of an issue. But until a main pipe fractures, causing a major flood or temporary geyser in the middle of the street, it’s easy to turn a blind eye to the problem.
Lawmakers and citizens should read the Davos paper and understand that the acute problems facing Mongolia and Tanzania could very well become our problems, too. We need to take seriously the reality of our crumbling infrastructure and face up to the difficult decisions ahead. Procrastination will only increase the likelihood of bigger problems down the road. It’s time to step up!