The good news about water scarcity is that water isn't that scarce. Human use of water systems has far more to do with the water cycle and ecosystems than the use of non-renewable energy resources. Yes, there are ways to use energy to make marginal water systems more useful, and adding technology to retrieve water more easily and avoid dying of ch***ra makes for a good investment. But for the most part it's about having access to healthy water systems at all. The problem is mostly one of externalities. How do you ensure that everyone gets their fair share, particularly given that only some
consumers of water care less about the long-term prospects of any particular
source of water (local residents as opposed to multinational corporations)? The use of water upstream or elsewhere on an aquifer is a concern, as are human effects on geography and climate on the reliability of water resources.
Thus, the innovators I'd like to highlight are the stewards of the Waterkeeper Alliance
. Managing externalities is what stewardship is all about, and doing so requires an interesting mix of science, politics, economics, and insight into local cultures and economies.
Solving the water crisis requires conservation, but not just in the "using less" sense. Preserving natural resources takes more than that.