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What´s up with water: Pouring water into your corporate strategy (XIII). Water for human consumption, Part B.

Have a gorgeous and positive week in June. June is a rainy month here in town. My birthday was last Monday (June 6th) and I think, every celebration of each of my year´s life has accompanied me with water from the sky. I am blessed with another year of accomplishments. Let´s begin by reading the slideshow that we promised you last week.  Additionally, we encourage you to read the bibliography that is written at the bottom of this page. Our slides are simply a summary of what we wish you to acknowledge. Our slides are important for you to read please. After showing you the general panorama, this episode is simply to reflect on the significance of setting minimum standards, verification, surveillance, quality control, and continuous application of water rules for the safety of our healthy living in the world.

Water quality is imperative and essential. As a human right, water consumption is of vital priority for our survival and quality of life. The top quality of our water impacts the health integrity and strength of the people. Many of our diseases (including cancer) are tied to the dishonor of not drinking quality water. We prepared the material above as a way to explore what, how, and why to directly correlate connecting the dots between our health status and safe drinking water (and food). By showing you the main elements of contamination of water and its respective indicators planned by the World Health Organization (WHO), we intend to open a window of remarkable content to those who wish to continue learning about this. The WHO has designed a framework for water contaminants grouped under 4 categories: microbiological, chemical, radiological, and acceptability. And for each basis of contamination to water, the WHO offers a guideline of zero tolerance or a minimum acceptable quantity per water liter of those hazards. Some of those microbiological contaminant indicators such as parasites, viruses, or bacteria are zero. Meaning that water shouldn’t hold any microgram of Escherichia coli for example. There are other elements in which a tiny amount below the minimum standard, won´t sicken us, and it has been proven that our bodies are able to resist. If we drink filthy water (or consume food that has been produced with polluted water), it is obvious that we will be unwell.

The importance of drinking water standards and guidelines. Everything in our life requires certain standards. Nothing good comes out of chaos. So, when humans decided to start to provide benchmarks about water through the WHO-United Nations, and then the countries began to improve them, with their local water agencies; this is the result of understanding that we need certain yardsticks or minimum criteria that can help us to measure the quality of what are we drinking. In addition, these standards help us to understand what could be the causes that might or might not pollute our water. In our quest to identify causes for consequences of water contamination, that is how we have realized in which situations we are caving our own misery. Also, we have identified which situations we have been successful in ensuring safe water at the highest possible level. This is a dynamic effort that requires constant updating.  Without standards and their respective compliance, human civilization is a mess. Innovation in the middle of chaos and without standards only produces disgusting effects for future concerns.

Risk Assessment for water. Any water strategy for a nation (defined as the set of benchmarks for drinking water, wastewater, and recreational water) requires a risk assessment and water resources management. Anything that doesn´t comply with those water standards, or any company (products and services) that doesn´t guarantee that no contamination will be poured into the environment; has to stop its operations. We know it is very hard to read this. But that is the way to go. We can´t continue watching the whole beauty of the water cycle affected by human industries. We can´t be ignorant of this situation and do nothing about it. The risk assessment of water must be included in the corporate strategic decision-making of our ventures. Financing organizations, investors, and venture capitalists can´t offer loans or equity to those who do not care for water or are producing elements that pollute our water during the manufacturing process, and at the consumer level (once the product has been bought). A systematic assessment of the risk of water contaminants should be considered in every single financial entity, before releasing a loan. Moreover, governments can´t continue extending operational permits to certain companies from high-contaminant industries that affect or will impact the water cycle. There is an urgent need to fix our industries as soon as possible.

Water is all around us. In everything we do. Illustrative and non-commercial image. Photo Source: Microsoft Office Library.

Wastewater returns to contaminate the water cycle. According to a report about wastewater from UNESCO (2017),  about 80 percent of the world’s wastewater is dumped—largely untreated—back into the environment, polluting rivers, lakes, air, and oceans (3). This widespread problem of water pollution is jeopardizing our health. Unsafe water kills more people each year than war and all other forms of violence combined. More than contaminants are affecting our water. The majority of them are human-made sources (4).  If we read carefully the list of contaminant standards that are mentioned under microbial, chemical, radiological, and acceptability aspects by the WHO, the mainstream of them is not coming from natural sources; but from our feces or excrements, and from our lack of common sense, by igniting the idea that we can throw out chemicals and radiological garbage from our industries and residences. For more than 100 years (Since the first industrial revolution), industries have manufactured and sold whatever they wanted, without including water in their corporate strategy, and in consequence, affecting our water cycle.

Water Suppliers must be worried. The disposition of water suppliers all over the world is designed to thrive when they comply with the WHO or the improved local water agencies’ standards. The issue at the moment is that the velocity of appearance of new pollutants is rising, not just in new substances, but in the amount of contamination. In addition, many water suppliers’ have begun to promote their own inventions for unexplored methodologies to combat these new contaminants. Societies (academic and practitioner inventors) have been more interested to conceive technological gadgets for massive consumption, instead of inventing new processes that may help water suppliers to filter the list of new water contaminants. However, the issue is not to palliate the problem, but to stop contamination on a global basis.  Without stopping the contamination at its core water suppliers must be worried. It is just a matter of time for a water global crisis. And because of the nature of the global water cycle, it doesn´t matter if only developed nations’ governments are procuring the cleaning of their wastewater systems; if the other half of the world continues polluting everything that water suppliers are trying to clean. 

Water for human consumption is in jeopardy. If people living in each country don´t take action to stop contaminating our water at the individual and family levels; if governments don´t take seriously the matter of eradicating industries and economic sectors that are not doing anything to stop throwing non-treated wastewater and toxic air into the planet; if regulators don´t use the empowerment of the law to punish with high penalties, or even shut down companies which are contaminating with their products and services; if we don´t start to create society ecosystems for the water strategy of our countries; trust us, all the water for human consumption will be scarce, and then so expensive that we will wish to return to previous years before the first industrial revolution; just to find water as it was before we embarked our civilization to ruin it.   Enterprises have to respect the water cycle with all their mind, soul, and actions.

On a positive note, it is never late to start to change to procure safe water for consumption. And that means also to rise our standards, in everything we do. It is never late to begin to clean our planet at its roots. We are concluding our chapter here.  We will continue with our musical segment.

Strategic Music Section:

Why did we choose Julia Fischer? Julia was chosen by us, because of her quality when performing  Beethoven. Like many of the virtuosos that we have selected during this saga, she started her career early, at the age of 3 years old. By exploring her biography, we have realized she is also a concert pianist, a chamber musician, and a violin teacher; with plenty of projects. . She doesn´t play with a Stradivarius yet, but with a violin from Giovanni Battista Guadagnini (1742). Why? She deserves a beautiful Strad. Really. Her project “Kinder Sinfoniker” is an example that which many musicians must engage. A children’s orchestra is the type of activity that schools (public and private) must engage in as a rule of thumb. Julia has expressed it in her own words: “All children should be given an instrument to make music. By playing together, children learn respect for their collaborators, sensibility, and responsibility. That is my motivation to start this new project together with my friends from my study times.” Congratulations to Julia, for such a beautiful initiative, that must be replicated everywhere. Music matters!

Songs of today belong to Ray Chen. We have selected a couple of interpretations of him as a soloist accompanied by an orchestra. The first one is Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto, mvt 3, with the National Symphony Orchestra during the Kennedy Center’s 50th Anniversary concert last year. And the second one is “Estrellita”, composed by the Mexican Manuel Ponce in 1912. Chen performs this “little star” song together with the ensemble Amsterdam Sinfonietta. Enjoy the violin!

See you next Friday, with the 14th episode of “What´s up with water: Pouring water in your corporate strategy: Water and Cities”. Thank you for reading to me.

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

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


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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