I recently visited the Santiago, Chile-based client of my required global project for the joint Cornell University and Queen's University Executive MBA America's program, and the water stress affecting that wonderful nation is palpable. I was part of a classmates' trip to Valparaiso and also rode with a local Cornelian to an asado (traditional Latin American barbecue) and saw beautiful (yet parched) rolling hills for as far as the eye can see on both trips. I was reminded of the parched hills of interior California. Additionally, I toured a winery alongside my classmates where the tour guide lamented the measures they are taking to stretch their dwindling water reserves as their climate becomes increasingly arid.
Chile is the most water-stressed country in South America. My meeting with a Santiago-based civil engineer colored that problem, as he explained the cost of water is rising for businesses, in particular. That increasing threat to Chileans loomed on my mind as my returning plane began its descent into Las Vegas over the noticeably white rings seen on the stone that holds shrinking water bodies. There is no continent that can escape the water crisis.