ISO publishes standard for measuring water footprint

Businesses across the globe will now be able to measure the environmental impact of water use and pollution with a new ISO standard, published today (31 July).

ISO 14046 will give all organisations the means to measure their water footprint; assessing the magnitude of potential environmental impacts related to water and identifying ways to reduce those impacts.

The standard is based on a life-cycle assessment and can also assist in facilitating water efficiency and optimization of water management at product, process and organizational levels. It can be used to conduct and report a business’s water footprint assessment.

A water footprint assessment can help to inform decision makers in industry, Government or non-governmental organizations of their potential impacts related to water.

ISO 14046 is expected to benefit organisations, Governments and interested parties worldwide by providing transparency, consistency and credibility to the task of assessing water footprint and reporting the water footprint results of products, processes or organisations.

Water scarcity

It comes at a time when water use and management have become central to the global debate on sustainability. Recent research from The Nature Conservancy revealed that London is in fact one of the most water-stressed cities in the world. The capital is ranked as the 15th most water-stressed city, behind Tokyo (1st), Delhi (2nd), Mexico City (3rd), Shanghai (4th) and Beijing (5th).

The Nature Conservancy mapped 500 large cities to determine how global urbanisation is affecting water supplies. The most water-stressed city in the US is Los Angeles (8th) but the top spots are dominated by cities in India and China – developing countries with fast-growing rates of urbanisation.

Report: ISO and Water

Luke Nicholls

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