Online tool designed for business to measure water use

Companies will be able to map water consumption and identify 'water-scarce' areas with a new online water tool launched on Wednesday at World Water Week in Stockholm.

The Global Water Tool was created by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, (WBSCD) aiming at businesses and organisations to map water use and assess risks relative to their global operations and supply chains.

The Global Water Tool should help companies answer questions such as: How many of our sites are in extremely water-scarce areas? Which sites are at greatest risk? How many of our suppliers are in water-scarce areas now? How many will be in 2025?

“This will certainly make the companies that use it more mindful”, said WBSCD spokesperson Lloyd Timberlake to edie.

“Most multinational companies will probably be surprised at the number of offices and factories they have in water-stressed areas.”

The tool contains an input sheet and the online map, and is connected with Google Earth, which provides spatial viewing of a company’s site locations in relation to detailed geographic information including surface water.

The online mapping feature enables companies to plot their sites with external water datasets and download those locations in a map. These datasets provide several key metrics including renewable water resource per capita, mean annual relative water stress index and access to improved sanitation.

Companies are able to calculate water consumption and efficiency, as well as establish their portfolio water risks.

However, the tool does not provide specific guidance on local situations, which require more in-depth, systematic analysis.

This year’s annual at World Water Week in Stockholm – attended by companies and NGO’s – takes a look at a span of issues in the industry including the environment and human development issues from the policy, Climate, sanitation and hygiene, ecosystems and biodiversity.

Dana Gornitzki

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