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What´s up with water: Pouring water into your corporate strategy (X) Water on earth-context Part B

Have a lovely weekend. Last Tuesday we began this charming section about inland water systems. I truly wish you can enjoy the reading today. Beforehand, we need you to be prepared. So I would like you to visit the following website: Then click the chapters related to coastal and inland water systems (Chapter 19 and chapter 20). Once you finish reading both, then come back to us to proceed to check out our strategic reflections.

As usual, find the material that we have prepared for you today. You can download it in PDF too. Please remember that every time we upload a set of slides, these are linked to the written material below. Some messages are included in the slides, and I don’t repeat them in the text of this publication. So let´s begin our wave ride today!

The condition of our inland water systems.

First, let´s define what are inland water systems by the experts? According to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD 2010), inland water systems are the same as freshwater ecosystems. These are all the wetlands and freshwater sources of water which are the primary water medium handling plants, animal life, and the wider environment around them. It is also where the water table is or near the land surface or where water covers the land.  But there is also another definition, which is the one that we have privileged for the purposes of this saga. According to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (2009), the inland wetlands are also areas of marsh, fen, peatland, or water, whether natural or artificial, permanent or temporary, with water that is static, or flowing, fresh, brackish or salt, including areas of marine water the depth of which at low tide does not exceed six meters (1).

For Eleonora Escalante Strategy, inland water systems are a sum of 4 interconnected portions of water: freshwater inland systems + coastal wetlands + glaciers + groundwater. See slide number 4 of our presentation above, and look at the following figurative scheme. Everything is connected.

The journey of water from the mountain glaciers to the ocean. Illustrative and non-commercial image.

The characteristics of our inland water ecosystems (1).

  1. Water in land is the integrated conjunction of geophysical, ecological, and natural disaster collection of histories of the landscape through which water flows. It is like watching the flowing water scars on planet earth. Each river, estuarine, lake, reservoir, or swamp, among other features of inland water, tells us the past narration of the planet’s geological, planetary, and climate cycles. For example, each river or stream is like a stretch mark for which water flows.
  2. These systems of inland flowing water are interconnected. “Effects from different upstream catchments are compounded as water moves downstream”.  In addition, groundwater feeds surface water ecosystems constantly.
  3. Freshwater carries not only H20:  It carries carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and other substances that are essential for the functioning of all the habitats that live from, in, or around the water there. This constant flow of nutrients also carries sediments, which are washed in from upstream terrestrial habitats eroding material and mineral banks.
  4. The connectivity between rivers and their tributaries and associated wetlands supports the diversity of species, providing access to these habitats for feeding and reproduction, promoting these species’ growth, community diversity, and productivity.
  5. The sources of water that are poured into the inland water systems come mainly from precipitation (rain), the inland glaciers (who melt their ice), and from groundwater.
  6. The state of each freshwater inland system (including coastal) depends on the quantity, timing, and quality of water flowing through them. This is called the natural flow regime. If humans touch and modify this natural rhythm of water, they also affect not just the water, but all the animals and plants (including microorganisms) that live in that habitat, particularly wetland birds, terrestrial species, and freshwater fish, that undergo widespread migrations based on seasonal changes in the availability of water and its food resources.
  7. Inland glaciers + inland wetlands + coastal wetlands + groundwater contribution is all interconnected. In locations where mountain water resources are of importance for downstream populations, the decreasing of water ice storage at the top (upstream) may in some way be substituted resiliently by the bedrock aquifers. There is an urgent need to continue doing research in this line (3) because many cities that depend on alpine glaciers are facing and will continue confronting water scarcity.
  8. The percentage of streamflow attributable to groundwater varies greatly through time and between watersheds depending on the geology, topography, climate, and spatial scale.

In general, even with the limited and fragmented global interrelated information, the panorama of inland water systems is not positive.

  • The experts have expressed that habitat loss is the consequence of the widespread degradation stress to which humans have exposed the inland water systems. It is speculated that 50% of inland water habitats were lost during the XX century. These are aquatic plants and fungi; invertebrates, freshwater fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals.
  • The species biodiversity of inland waters is among the most threatened of all ecosystems, and in many parts of the world, it is in continuing and accelerating decline. Climate change will impact the inland water systems, even though still it is unknown how much.
  • The multidimensional degradation of the inland water systems is driven by simultaneous forces. We mention the primary ones here: (a) infrastructure development and water diversions (as dams); (b) excessive utilization of water bodies for recreational use; (c) land conversion; (d) water withdrawal for agricultural territories and urban cities or any other project related to tourism, recreation, aquaculture, or industrial purposes;  (e) pollution spills of chemicals as fuels and herbicides/pesticides; (f) overexploitation of fish, overgrazing, and overharvesting because of global value chains; (g)  overexploitation of freshwater species; (h) introduction of invasive unfamiliar species; (i) deforestation; and finally as a cherry on top (j) global climate change (expressed in extreme floods, intense droughts, and harsh fires) (2).
  • Water scarcity: There are several cities that are beginning to show a reduction in their aquifers, and this trend is going to continue.
  • The degradation of the inland water systems is causing natural flooding regimes, causing destruction to riverine habitats and floodplains, including to human settlements located inappropriately where the flows of water pass.
Water is all around us. In everything we do. Illustrative and non-commercial image. Photo Source: Microsoft Office Library.

Humans are responsible for the destruction of inland water systems.

Many experts believe that the major driver that causes destruction to the inland water systems is the population and consumption growth of humans. We believe that is not really the case. The issue is that humans have not taken responsibility for the water as a hydrological interconnected global cycle; and in consequence, the impacts of the bad administration of our actions on the surface of our planet earth, are also coming back to us like a boomerang. Climate change may not be totally our fault, but humans have added pollution causes to the symptoms. When humans don´t care about water integrally, humans are crucifying the future of the next generation’s resources. We always say that the issue is not the growth of the population, but the lack of good and appropriate management when it comes to the water cycle and all its implications.

Most of us do not act to care for water.

Eleonora Escalante Strategy is dedicating time, and ad-honorem dedication to writing these sagas (I still have not monetized anything in this platform since I started to publish), because we want to help those who are deciding, those who are doing corporate strategy. We know God will bless us sooner or later economically. We write because we want to make a contribution to our role as people of God´s mission on the planet. So we keep on going. No matter the suffering or economic deprivation, we go through every next saga for more. We trust that money will come because that is the way God will show the correct sponsors for us. The marvelous water cycle is the reason why I believe in God. And if we believe in God, it is crucial to do all that we can, and protect his domain on earth. Water has to be loved and cared for.

In summary. The bottom line of these two last episodes is to show you that water on land (inland systems) is integrated with the oceans, the coastal systems, the glaciers, and the groundwater. And all these systems are threatened directly and organically by us. At the same time, the inland water systems are structurally affected indirectly by external conditions caused by us (such as climate change pollution). Nothing that we touch on the surface of our land is irrelevant to inland water. The whole business world has to begin to prioritize the meaning of life. We are reaping the outcomes of those who by ignorance, or by selfishness have not remembered water in their endeavors. And that applies to every single industry on earth. And it also applies to all of us, no matter how big or small a company is. Read the last three slides of the material shown above, please.

This is it for today, we will continue our next episode next Tuesday. We will resume with the subject “Water beyond your skin”.

Strategic Music Section:

Why did we choose Gil Shaham in our last episode?

Since 1989, Gil Shaham has been playing the famous 1699 “Comptesse de Polignac” Stradivarius; which is a very special violin. We selected him because I loved to listen to his melodies when I was searching for his music material for this section. It seems to me that Mr. Shaham and his wife have an extensive and ample repertoire of traditional and contemporary violin music, and he also is searching to put on stage some forgotten violin virtuoso oeuvres. In addition, I think he, like many generation X violinists, would be soon in charge of the future of the violinists. So I put all of them as a symbol of a river delta. We consider all top virtuoso violinists of my generation as a river delta. Let us explain why river deltas are important in human civilization: “They are major agricultural production centers and population centers. River Deltas can provide coastline defense and can impact the drinking water supply. They are also ecologically important, with different species’ assemblages depending on their landscape position”. So, if I consider all the violinists from Generation X as the river deltas, that means they have to ignite the passion to keep on going, despite the difficulties of our times. To keep on going for protecting the violinists of future generations. Please, river delta violinists, don´t let the new disruptive technologies wipe out the tradition of your beloved tools and interpretations. If you don´t act, defend and make waves to protect the violinists of the future; in short, all music will be played with keyboards or artificial intelligence-powered machines. Sadly this applies to all type of instruments too.

Songs of today belong to Nicola Benedetti.

The first video is an interview realized by composer Howard Goodall to Nicola about Bach´s Chaconne piece. The second video is Bach’s Chaconne from Partita 2. We will see why is Ms. Benedetti here on our next episode. Remember it is about Bach.

See you next Tuesday, with the 11th episode of “What´s up with water: Pouring water in your corporate strategy”. Thank you for reading to me. Cheers!

“Violin Maya”. An aquarelle exercise by Eleonora Escalante 2019. I started to paint this artwork in Starbucks Los Proceres, San Salvador. Montval 300GSM watercolor paper. Size: 48 cm x 68 cm

Sources of Reference utilized to prepare the slides and the material above:

  1. Graeme L. Worboys, Michael Lockwood, Ashish Kothari, Sue Feary, and Ian Pulsford and authors/editors. “Protected area governance and management”. Chapter 19. 2015. ANU Press.
  3. Sommers and McKenzie, “A review of groundwater in high mountain environments”. Wires Water, Wiley, 2020.

Disclaimer: Illustrations in Watercolor are painted by Eleonora Escalante. Other types of illustrations or videos (which are not mine) are used for educational purposes ONLY. Nevertheless, most of the pictures, images, or videos shown on this blog are not mine. I do not own any of the lovely photos or images posted unless otherwise stated. 

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