Last November, the Tecnológico de Monterrey Water Center celebrated its 15th year of existence. This center was born in 2008 as a joint initiative of the Femsa Foundation, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the Tecnológico de Monterrey, and is located in the facilities of this academic institution. Although at that time water was already an important issue, today it has the highest relevance. The Water Center, together with other scientific institutions, contributes to studies, technological solutions, patents, and training the skills of professionals in the field of water. However, so far there have been a series of major challenges. The main ones are listed here.
The first is scarcity and scarcity, driven by population growth and urbanization, but exacerbated by lack of infrastructure, climate change, competition, and conflict over limited resources. Another important challenge is unequal access to water. We know that economic, regulatory, legislative, and infrastructure aspects are involved here, but the lack of political will is evident and, surprisingly, issues such as ethnicity and gender are still discussed.
Another problem is the over-exploitation of supply sources, above and below ground, which brings with it problems of drainage, cost overruns, and effects on the ecosystem. Pollution, for its part, creates a reduction in the effective availability of resources, affecting ecosystems and health. The lack of regulation and infrastructure or the obsolescence of both, in addition to the fact that new polluting compounds are created every day, make the issue a real challenge.
Climate change affects us in all ways. Rising temperatures, changes in rainfall distribution, extreme events, and rising sea levels have an impact on production and economic systems, but also on the environment in general. Water is the ***thermometer*** of the climate system. All water systems must be rethought in the context of climate change. Finally, in water management issues we continue to talk about poor use, lax regulations, non-compliance with laws, ineffective management, very low investment, and the lack of participation mechanisms.
In the context of a changing climate and a deeply uncertain future, these challenges present us with a very challenging future for which it must be prepared. In this sense, scientific and academic institutions, such as the Water Center, must maintain a new leadership with a 360-degree vision to address current and future complex problems with systematic methods and have perspectives that can be the catalysts of innovation. The new focus areas should include not only education, science, and technology aspects but also topics such as water security, sustainability and climate resilience, cooperation, governance, integrated and intelligent water management, the water-energy nexus, environment, and water culture. All this is to train leaders who promote prosperous, livable, and water-sensitive communities. The Water Center of the Tecnológico de Monterrey is committed to the future of water, precisely with water in the future.