According to the BBC, “Water demand globally is projected to increase by 55% between 2000 and 2050. Much of the demand is driven by agriculture, which accounts for 70% of global freshwater use, and food production will need to grow by 69% by 2035 to feed the growing population. Water withdrawal for energy, used for cooling power stations, is also expected to increase by over 20%. In other words, the near future presents one big freshwater drain after the next.”
Pipelines are no exception, and Canadians are not immune to the impact of the increased demand for our water supply. The most immediately noticeable consequence in the developed world is in the price: the cost of fresh water is steadily increasing. And that means that a liquid that was once less scrutinized becomes more and more expensive to lose.
Apart from the cost, the ever-increasing occurrence of droughts threatens to shut down oil and gas industries. Just this September, British Columbia was forced to ration the water supply for 20 water permits for oil and gas companies because of a level 3 drought in the northeastern part of the province. In 2019, they also had to take water-saving measures for a month for the same reason. With predictions of droughts becoming more commonplace, fracking is at risk of becoming less available and more expensive.
At a global level, the very real threat of running out of clean water can be felt virtually everywhere. As Simge Eva Dogan explains in this article, “…nearly 400,000 Californians rely on drinking water that may contain chemical contaminants. Drought can further increase these contaminants, while fire damage to the good equipment can add toxic chemicals to the water.” Locally, we’ve seen the effect of wildfires on the livelihoods of Canadians and to the oil and gas industry, with significant events in Fort McMurray, Jasper, and the Okanagan to name a few.
Water is a liquid worth protecting, and any loss through leaks directly translates into a negative environmental, human, and profit impact. And, with the increasing focus on organizations to do more to protect our earth, water measurement must become a vital part of your project strategy.
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