Does Your Organization Have What It Needs to Fight the Water Crisis?

Does your organization need to fight the water crisis?

The world is in a water crisis and will not go away on its own. According to the World Resources Institute, we are on course for a 50% freshwater shortfall by the year 2030.

Every organization will need to make decisions and take actions to better support the planet and long-term viability of their operations if we are to avoid the crisis.

Not all organizations have the tools, insights, and expertise to help curb their consumption of water and greenhouse gas.

There are several effective water-management solutions on digital platforms that can help organizations meet their water goals while reducing operational costs.

A strong water-management strategy should also consider the organization's relationship to the local watersheds in which it operates and how its water use affects the surrounding community.

Many corporate water targets are not aligned with local needs or address the root causes of water challenges.

Setting goals and measuring progress.

Current local water prices may not reflect the true value of water. The low cost of water makes it easy to overlook its value. Population growth, increased demand, and climate change will continue to stress our world's limited water supply, making the financial value of water to business operations impossible to ignore in the long term.

The financial impact of water risks reported by 358 companies in 2020 exceeded $300 billion. Some organizations are not addressing the risks.

In a survey of companies with revenue of at least $1 billion, only 38% said water is a strategic corporate initiative. According to the survey respondents, nearly half of their local facilities lack the tools and resources to meet their water goals.

Water risk can be mitigated from the executive suite, but they need to address the issue at the site level.

Tenuta said that smart water-management programs contribute to reducing business risk at the corporate level and addressing local shared water challenges by guiding industrial sites in setting meaningful targets, establishing strong accountability, implementing industry best practices, and preparing facilities for engaging with other basin stakeholders.

Local conditions within which they operate must be considered when setting goals. Facilities can set context-based targets and a plan to implement changes if they understand the value of water to local operations.

Water strategy and technology.

A successful water-management plan starts with gaining visibility into its own consumption by analyzing water usage to identify and improve inefficiency. Tracking water performance has traditionally challenged organizations with tedious and manual processes that have inconsistent or inconclusive results.

Digital data collection and analytic technology can help speed this process up. The Ecolab Smart Water Navigator is an online tool that can help organizations at any stage of their water-use reduction initiatives accelerate their smart water-management journey. The tool helps users understand their level of water risk, set targets for individual locations, identify actions to help deliver reduction targets, and track performance for continual reassessment and growth opportunities.

Tenuta said that sites without water targets can use the Smart Water Navigator to identify risk and develop a response plan. The tool can be used to evaluate if the ambition of the targets is enough to address the shared water challenges and to access best-practice guidance on how to implement strategies and track progress toward meeting the target.

Ecolab has a service called Water Flow Intelligence that gives real-time visibility into water usage to help organizations understand where and how they use water throughout their networks.

By increasing local improvements at a national or global scale, an organization can deliver significant improvements to the environment and its own productivity.

Partnering for water knowledge.

Many organizations are still in the early stages of understanding their water use and its role in the environment. Collaboration is key to achieving meaningful progress.

Building resilience is dependent on setting a foundation for engaging with external stakeholders. Tenuta said that this will help establish trust and enable a stronger social license to operate.

The expertise and resources of partners can be used by organizations looking to advance their water-stewardship initiatives.

The Alliance for Water Stewardship sets global water-use standards with locally adapted frameworks to help enterprises contribute their own freshwater-use reduction efforts to worldwide goals.
The water resilience coalition is part of the U.N. Global Compact and is led by a CEO.
The Our Watercampaign has raised millions of dollars of public and private funding to protect the Mississippi River and other fragile freshwater resources.

Business operations and healthy lives are dependent on water. By using digital insights and engaging in effective partnerships, companies can build their own operational resilience and help protect this valuable resource by adopting proactive water-management plans that account for an organization's size, location, and offerings.

Ecolab can help you grow through water use.