Hi everybody !
One month before leaving for Anchorage, we wanted to share with you the reasons that motivated us to study fresh water issues abroad, during a 7-months journey across America.
First of all, we were interested by the uniqueness of this resource. Fresh water is everywhere and it is a daily matter for human beings. We need a couple liters of it a day to survive. It composes 65% of our bodies. 70% of the use we make of it is toward agriculture, in order to produce the food we eat. Its presence structures cities, countries, mountain ranges, ecosystems…. Nobody ignores its importance. Subsequently, fresh water aquired an unpaired symbolic power, from rain dances of Cherokee natives to the rituals of the three monotheisms.
In a nutshell, you understand that such a theme is hard to deal with while walking straight.
That is the reason why we decided to make our study more precisely restricted. As business students, it seemed interesting to ask the following question : How should we cope and trade such a resource ?
Can we make benefits out of it ? Should it be free ?
One would be likely to answer a bit too quickly to this question. « No, water should not be a matter of profit. Yes, it should be free ». The problem is that in many countries, like in France for example, it is almost not possible to find drinkable water in the nature. As in many countries in the world, pollution and pesticides have slowly spoiled waters that used to be drinkable as they sprang.
Now, we have to treat it. We have to hire people to make it drinkable. We need technologies, investments to provide fresh water to people. We need to spend money to get water. If we need to spend money then it means we need incomes. And if we need incomes… We might need a price. And we are back on the ethical matter of a price for a fundamental resource.
Should we finance fresh water with taxes ? Should we deal with private companies ? Do we need local policies, global policies ? We understand quickly that it is difficult to answer too fast to such a quantity of issues. General rules have to be excluded when studying water issues.
That is why Gregoire and I have decided to discover this fascinating resource under this economic perspective. Thanks to many encounters, we will try together to get a better idea of those issues, and we will share our conclusions with you 🙂 !
- L’avenir de l’eau, Erik Orsenna
- Centre d’information sur l’eau