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Water Week News: Global Water Tool, Paper’s Footprint, UNEP Warning

Here are the top stories to emerge so far from World Water Week in Stockholm.

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development has released two sector-specific versions of its Global Water Tool. The organization says this is the first time a tool addressing industry-specific
challenges around water issues has been developed for the oil and gas and power utilities sectors.

The Global Water Tool for Oil and Gas, developed by IPIECA, the WBCSD and CH2M HILL, is designed to assess companies’ water risks across their portfolio of sites, considering each part of the oil and gas value chain. It is designed to enable companies to identify the number of refinery sites in water-scarce areas, provide future projections, and establish the percentage production volume in water-scarce areas.

The Global Water Tool for Power Utilities was developed by CH2M HILL and EDF, and shaped and pilot tested by a group of member
companies with power production operations worldwide. It allows data input and metrics output to be customized to the four main types of power production and considers cooling water separately from other process water. Sector-relevant intensity metrics can be created, and mapping icons for major power production processes can be employed.

The WBCSD is also launching a Biodiversity Bonus feature on the upgraded Global Water Tool. It enables businesses to identify how many of their sites, or potential sites, are in biodiversity hotspots. The data can be viewed via charts, Excel spreadsheets or maps. The Biodiversity Bonus feature was developed with expertise from Conservation International (CI).

In other World Water Week news, UPM published a pilot Water Footprint Assessment mapping the amount of freshwater consumed throughout the production chain of paper (see chart). The results show that water for growing trees represents the primary contribution to paper’s total water footprint.

Finally, the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP) said the failure to invest in water services and to collect, treat and re-use water efficiently is exacerbating water shortages in many parts of the world and contributing to a situation where global demand for water could outstrip supply within 20 years.

But, UNEP said in the water chapter of its Green Economy Report (pdf), investing 0.16 per cent of global GDP in the water sector could reduce water scarcity and halve the number of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation in less than four years.

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