Water: Measure It; DO It
Welcome to the Global Water Tool. Developed by the World Business Council For Sustainable Development, the Water Tool allows companies and organizations to map their water use and assess their impact on the availability of water.
Although penned over 200 years ago, Coleridge's "Water, water, everywhere, Nor any drop to drink" could well describe the global situation today; and all the more so if we consider the rainfall that drenched much of Northern Europe and South Asia this summer, leaving many places under a meter of water and without freshwater supplies.
The world is not "running out of water", but water is not always available when and where people need it. There's either too little of it, too much of it, or it's too polluted.
More and more parts of the globe are becoming water-stressed. The global freshwater supply is under pressure from population increase, growing domestic consumption, increasing agricultural use and burgeoning industrial and energy demands. At the same time, the quality of freshwater is being compromised by domestic waste, industrial pollution and increased use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Despite this worrying trend, until recently, many users failed to fully grasp how their activities affect the global water supply and vice versa. Even when they did, as with other environmental challenges, the debates were often mired in policy considerations and feelings it was the responsibility of some ephemeral body to take action. The sheer magnitude of the issue seemed to induce feelings of helplessness and of "what can I do?". However, a wind of change seems to be blowing across stormy waters. There is an increasing realization that just as small drops create large puddles, so small collaborative efforts can lead to big results.
Progressive businesses, many of them leading World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) member companies, are beginning to understand that "to manage water globally, you need to know the situation locally". They are starting to partner with communities and other stakeholders to create innovative and mutually beneficial water management programs.
It is this progressive realization that has led the WBCSD to develop the Global Water Tool. The tool, which was officially launched during the Stockholm World Water Week in August, is a free, easy-to-use, web-based practical instrument that allows companies and organizations to map their water use and assess the impact of their global operations and supply chains on the availability of water. At its launch, the Global Water Tool was met with an enthusiastic reception from business and non-business sectors, who welcomed it as a concrete tool for action, rather than as yet another statement of policy or gloomy rhetoric; and one which they will be able to integrate into their activities.
The tool is intended as a dynamic step to encourage the formulation of practical water management plans and will be regularly updated as new datasets become available.
Check it out and assess your water use at this link.
The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) is a CEO-led, global association of some 190 companies dealing exclusively with business and sustainable development.