Alex Berhitu

Manager Business Development WaterAlliance

 

1. What are – in your view – the economic values of water?

The economic value of water is highly under estimated, too often related only to drinking water and waste water treatment. But actually there is little to none economic activity were water is not involved. There is water in the food and beverage industry, textile industry, chemical industry etc. etc. In fact every industrial activity involves water so if you would add the economic value of these industries it would better represent the economic value of water.

2. Should we always look at water related problems from an economic perspective, and should that be a deciding factor?

The global water stress is not caused by the rising demand on the drinking water from the world’s growing population or the wastewater these people produce in their homes. It is because growing population and welfare, demands more consumer products made by water consuming industries. Therefor water related problems always need to be viewed from a wider perspective.

3. Is the so-called circular economy a challenge or a solution for the water sector, and would it be a good idea to reuse as much waste and purified water as possible from the water treatment plants?

In my personal opinion there would be no water stress if we were to spread population and water consuming industry more evenly to the global water availability. But given the current urbanization it seems that implementing smart (and shorter) water-cycle solutions is the only way towards a sustainable future (use and reuse on the ‘spot’). This could stimulate a so-called circular economy. The water sector has always been dealing with cycles (water-cycles); reuse of water and some waste materials has been common practice. The challenge in the Circular Economy is not so much the (technical)circular part but more economic/financial part. While currently the majority is focusing on selling reclaimed materials from their waste production, little to none have considered purchasing reclaimed products as a raw material in their core process.  As long as the majority keep thinking about selling their own (waste)products without thinking about purchasing someone’s (waste)products our linear economy will not be turned into a circular economy.

4. Should we familiarize water professionals, authorities, and students with the economic analyses of water-related issues?

As a professional it is always good to keep a wide perspective it enables a clear and better judgement. So not only should tech-people be acquainted with economics but also vice versa economic-people witch technical aspects.

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