The business community has a key role to play in responding to COVID-19, rebuilding the economy, and preventing and mitigating future shock events — both broadly speaking and specifically regarding water and handwashing. This second in the Pacific Institute’s Business Framework for Water and the COVID-19 Pandemic issue brief series continues to explore the role of businesses in a robust COVID-19 response, outlining how businesses can contribute to a “blue” economic recovery and help make society more resilient to future shocks.
Many of the worst, most visible impacts of climate change will be felt through our relationship with water. Meanwhile, the COVID-19 pandemic has shown the fragility of our water systems, not only to climate change, but to many other crises. We must make our water systems resilient to potential major societal disruptions, including global pandemics, natural disasters such as earthquakes and tornadoes, and severe recessions.
Much has been made of a “green” recovery to COVID-19, one that simultaneously stimulates and strengthens the economy and advances critical climate goals that ultimately make our economies more sustainable and equitable. But this “green” recovery to COVID-19 must also be “blue”: a robust economic recovery goes hand in hand with water stewardship. Investing in drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene saves lives, aids climate change mitigation and adaption, and brings economic benefits.