A recent study revealed that nearly 40 percent of water executives from around the world believe demand for water is "highly likely" to outstrip supply by 2030. Most of the other respondents predict the risk is "moderately likely."

The study was conducted by The Economist magazine's Economist Intelligence Unit and involved 244 senior water utility executives in 10 different countries.* 

Among the reasons cited in the survey for the potential water shortage include the following:
• 45 percent note it is the result of "wasteful" consumer behavior
• 33 percent believe tariffs (taxes and fees on water) are too low to stimulate greater investment
• 41 percent cite a lack of capital in developing countries
• 34 percent attribute it to worries about climate change.

The executives appear divided when it comes to the cost of water. Nearly half say pricing structures, such as charging more for water, need to be considered to encourage conservation. Nearly 40 percent disagree and believe the cost of water should be held down to ensure "fair access."

"The report also credits new technologies and innovations which are helping to reduce water consumption and use water more efficiently," says Klaus Reichardt, CEO and founder of Waterless Co., Inc. "However, it also indicates more must be done not only by water users, but water utilities as well."

Finally, a similar study conducted by Ceres, which helps mobilize entrepreneurs to invest in sustainable businesses, finds that 27 percent of the companies it surveyed believe there is a connection between the risk of water shortages and climate change—up from 10 percent just three years ago.
* Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, India, Russia, Spain, the UK, and the United States.