This bumper sticker is perpetually in vogue with regard to oil and its drilling and soon will be in vogue with regard to water.
Water is a not only a scarce resource but also an elemental resource. It is a scientific fact that we are a sum total of five elements, earth, fire, wind, water and ether, If there is one good reason for humans to flourish on earth it is because of water. Water is the only element that we consume directly whereas the rest of the elements are used in adulterated forms. Water, for centuries is assumed an infinite resource and we used and abused the resource so far through all the various revolutions, be it the industrial or agricultural.
Oil, all though cannot be compared with water is also an abused resource. For decades we have been pumping oil and increasing our dependency on it. We have been repeatedly told of the day when we will run out of oil. Not so ironically the stock market is the custodian of the total available oil as the declared and to-be drilled oil reserves reflect on the stock market and contribute up to 12% of the financial market. By measuring the oil reserves we are able to easily define a scarcity scenario, this scenario helps create market value to oil and to the infinite products that oil enables.
Water, on the other hand is an universal and fundamental right and therefore it must not be subject to market mechanism and demand-supply pressures. Water continues to be a scarce resource and especially due to climate change. However water as an resource needs to be studied and extensively modelled. The modelled data must feed into decision makers of large urban cluster (cities), Agriculturist, Industry and the Insurance sector. Every year India faces pressures on water management due to drought and unseasonal rain amounting to close to 6% of the economy. In the year 2012 the economy was effected upto 8%.
Oil moves machines and Water moves all life. Life without machines can be imagined but life without water is simply not possible.
There have been many attempts to measure the water as a resource. The most effective open source tool out there is put out by the WRI.
(click here) http://www.wri.org/our-work/project/aqueduct