Water is fundamental to business. Business needs water to heat, cool, clean and as an ingredient too. But get it wrong, the consequences can be devastating and costly to the bottom line and to reputations.
Water needs to be managed well. More than oil or talent, water is perhaps the most problematic of resources. Enough water of the right quality needs to be in the right place at the right time. Water scarcity and water stress issues eg. drought, flood, and inconsistent supply as well as pollution, impacts on business as usual and adds cost (whether it’s directly felt in operations or it’s further along in the value chain). It also needs to be managed well not only at the point the business wants to use it, but also as it discharges it back into the environment.
The challenge is only going to increase. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) projects that, under business as usual, water demand will increase by 55% globally by 2050. The increase will mainly come from manufacturing (+400%), electricity (+140%) and domestic use (+130%). Add in competition from agriculture to feed growing populations and a potential 40% supply gap by 2030 seems very real.
So where do you start to strengthen your resilience to water-related challenges and risks?