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New Tool Measures Sustainability of Corporate Water Use

The Center for Sustainable Innovation (CSI) has released a new tool to measure the ecological sustainability of an organization’s water use. Called the Corporate Water Gauge (pdf), the new tool uses GIS modeling to take into account rainfall, local topography and watershed boundaries. It then determines sustainability performance by measuring the rate of water use against the rate of renewable supply.

CSI says that the tool is grounded in sustainability principles that include:

  • Human use of water resources should be balanced with ecological considerations.
  • Renewable supplies should be determined using a watershed based approach.
  • Stocks of surface and groundwater should be preserved, not drawn down.
  • Sustainability of water use should be grounded in site-specific precipitation and population data.

By assessing water use in terms of organizational headcount and local community size, as well as watershed and renewable water resource levels, the tool expresses the sustainability of water use in per-capita terms. This makes it possible to score sustainability at local, regional, and enterprise-wide levels, as well as providing useful data for national, and global comparisons.

As water use becomes a critical component of sustainability performance, this and other water management strategies will increase in importance.

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