Dispatches from Ontario: Water Is the Next Big Environmental Issue


The Ontario Global Water Leadership Summit opened this morning in Toronto’s Metro Convention Centre to a large audience that converged to discuss the challenges of developing and implementing water technologies, related economic opportunities and its nexus with other areas such as renewable energy, food and the ‘virtual water’, a term that is destined to become common parlance in the near future.

“As the 20th century was dominated by oil, carbon emissions became a major issue at the end of that period”, said Glen Murray, Ontario’s Minister of Research and Innovation in his address to the public at the conference. “Water is the next big issue”, he said. “It will be the dominant force in the 21st century.”

Water is embedded in every human activity and it’s becoming scarce. It is predicted that one in three people will not have proper access to water in the next 20 years. Despite all that, there has been very little innovation over the last 40 years, said Booky Oren, CEO Global Water Technologies, based in Israel. He contrasted the conservativeness of the water industry with the rapid advances made by communications and IT during the same period.

But that seems to be about the change as the huge interest attracted by the Ontario summit seems to testify, a fact that panel discussion repeatedly reiterated, pointing to innovation as a driving force behind the shift. Thanks to the remarkable energy/water nexus, this booming new industry, which is expected to move $22 trillion over the next few years on a global scale, will inevitably drive more innovation and application in the alternative energy sector.

Article by Antonio Pasolini, a Brazilian writer and video art curator based in London, UK. He holds a BA in journalism and an MA in film and television.

About Author

Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.

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