Q: I have the impression that problems with water have been underestimated for a long time – by politicians, business and public opinion. What are the reasons for this situation?
A: There was a lot of water (quantity and quality) since the beginning of time. Now there are more people using more water (demand) and less water (pollution and climate change), so there are shortages. (I am writing a book on this, The End of Abundance...)
Q: Some people often say that water will be the next oil. Is it the right comparison, in what sense? Who will probably benefit the most from the water trading in the future?
A: No, it's not true in the sense that oil is MUCH more valuable, shipped worldwide, of fixed (NOT renewable) supply, and with substitutes. OTOH, water IS like oil b/c it's controlled by governments, so there are similar political issues. Fortunately, those issues are often LOCAL (not global), so solutions are easier.
The beneficiaries of water trading will be sellers (farmers) and buyers (poor people). The losers will be politicians who lose control over this valuable asset.
Do you readers have more to say on this?