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How Water Flipping, Excess Solar Energy and Shifting Hydropower Stations Show Us the Future Is All About Water

The skies were orange above Athens and that was just one of several climate and energy related stories this week that offered a glimpse into stories we will see more frequently in the coming years.

The first example is a concerning story of a tiny Arizona town where a private company purchased land and water rights only to flip the property and sell back the water rights to a local town for a huge profit. The concern is that more water speculators will “scavenge agricultural land” and engage in lucrative water flipping real estate deals making an already scarce resource even worse. Also related to water was the news that China’s data centers may use more water than the entire population of South Korea by 2030.

On the positive side, there was a story about how California is generating so much solar power that it’s driving electricity prices to go negative and creating issues about where and how to store all this excess solar. And in Costa Rica, a country where 99% of energy comes from renewable sources (mainly through hydropower), climate change is likely to create less rainfall in some areas and more in others … which means authorities are already thinking about how power stations may need to move over time.

The theme here seems to be that the real scarce resource of the future is going to be water more than energy. Since the ability to control and flow water relies on geographic restrictions, land rights and physical distance – that will make it harder to source independently or divert to places far from it. As a result, water scarcity may be the biggest problem for humanity in the long term future

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In addition to Non-Obvious Thinking, Rohit is the author of 10 books on trends, the future of business, building a more human brand with storytelling and how to create a more diverse and inclusive world.

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