Water is essential for the development and maintenance of healthy and successful economies and for human health.
Ensuring the ongoing availability of water as an essential resource means that water must be used responsibly and sustainably. So, how well do you understand your water use? How often do you question it?
Australia is the driest continent on earth, enduring long periods of drought and devastating floods. The changing climate is leading to further drying, less reliable rainfall, more frequent drought as well as more intense and damaging rainfall events. So how do we manage the risk of reducing water security while at the same time making sure there is enough water for other businesses, the community and the environment?
Water is a shared resource and best managed through a stewardship lens. Putting the principles of good water stewardship into action can help ensure that water use for human and economic purposes is sustainable, doesn’t deplete the water resource or cause harm to the natural environment. A robust water stewardship framework can help identify opportunities to improve water management for long term economic, environmental and social prosperity.
The international Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) has established an open-source, robust, consistent and globally applicable framework that businesses can use to effectively and efficiently assess their water risks no matter what their location and meet their sustainability targets in relation to water.
Julia Seddon, CEO of Cress Consulting says, “if your operation uses significant volumes of water, undertaking a sustainable water risk review of your site and its catchment provides tangible business benefits.”
Just as a carbon footprint identifies hot spots of carbon intensity, a water footprint can highlight where inputs or processes may be subject to water supply risks especially where there is no reliable alternative supply. A catchment analysis can help identify risks within the operating and input supply catchments in terms of quantity quality as well as environmental conditions and community uses.
It’s important to use a robust and consistent framework. The International Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) Standard is an ISO equivalent focussed on sustainable water management. It provides a systematic methodology to analyse and identify current and future risks around sustainable water supply and outline actions to reduce risks or take advantage of opportunities to improve water security, reduce costs, increase efficiency or improve water management.
This information is then be used to prioritise your water risks and identify options to manage them. It also goes a long way in answering the many questions you should be asking about water and its importance to your business.
Cress Consulting are sustainability, risk and water specialists, committed to finding the right solutions to help you secure a more sustainable, secure future.If you would like help to find the right solutions to a more sustainable, secure future, please contact us here.