Consistently ignoring the old cliche that the two don’t mix, the fossil fuel industry has used water to extract oil (and gas) for years.

But climate change impacts pose increasing threats to fresh water supply in Canada and around the world.

Whether you’re for or against traditional energy sources such as oil, the growing competition between water for nature, individuals and industry is one we must consider, preferably before we reach crisis levels.

The move to switch to a low carbon economy demands this of us as well, as many renewable energy sources are dependent on fresh water supply.

Risk and insurance managers gathered in Edmonton this September for the annual RIMS Canada Conference attended a panel hosted by ACT partner Zurich Insurance on the nexus of climate change, water supply, and energy. View the presentations by ACT Executive Director Deborah Harford and Zurich’s Senior Climate Products Officer Lindene Patton here.

Reporting on the conference, Daryl Angier of Canadian Insurance Top Broker magazine wrote in his article, Oil and Water, “Water is quickly becoming the new oil.”

Lindene Patton of Zurich Insurance confirms this sentiment: “As water resources become more strained and less predictable, the insurance industry will…price risk according to how well organizations manage water usage.”

Zurich was a key sponsor for ACT’s six-month research session and conference series on extreme weather. The final report, Climate Change Adaptation and Extreme Weather Report: Summary Recommendations, was published in September 2009.

Zurich is also supporting ACT’s Energy and Water sessions, with reports due out in December 2010 and March 2011, respectively.