On April 1st, Governor Jerry Brown announced mandatory restrictions on urban water use in California. Urban centers across California now need to find solutions to reduce water use by 25%. This presents serious and unprecedented challenges to the state that has long represented the pinnacle of progress in the U.S.
The biggest question is: will the severity of the water crisis force California to change the way it does business?
The question is not whether California should change but will it. And will the rest of us follow?
The challenges California faces will not be theirs alone to bear. The broader U.S. population is inextricably linked with the economy of California. Here's a snapshot of the reach of California communities & industries:
California has the world's 7th largest economy
Feeds the U.S. with its production of 200 types of fruits & vegetables, valued at $17 billion
Silicon Valley accounts for 1/3 of all U.S. venture capital investing
The broader U.S. depends on California for food, consumer electronics, and high-tech manufacturing, among other things. As some say: "As California goes, so goes the nation." So we all must consider the consequences of perpetuating business-as-usual in the emerging era of water scarcity.
Corporations have the opportunity to assume leadership roles in this new era - to craft waterless innovation, to reduce their impact on natural resources, and stop competing with communities for water resources. The future does not need to be bleak; business can and should build solutions to the water problems in California and around the world.