Kimberly-Clark and research firm Deltares have partnered to develop an interactive, web-based tool that will allow users to assess water risks for an entire watershed as well as for specific sectors and sub-groups, such as industrial users or farmers, over a 30-year time horizon. The WaterLoupe tool tracks data on social, economic and climate factors impacting water availability within river basins.
With clean water being a key input in Kimberly-Clark’s tissue-making operations – and with several of the company’s mills located in watersheds at high risk for water scarcity – the tool will help the company identify the factors driving water risk and explore sustainable stewardship strategies.
In Colombia, for example, Kimberly-Clark is employing WaterLoupe to engage government authorities, farmers and other industries in discussions regarding local water use and vulnerabilities now and in the future. Designed as an open-source tool, the WaterLoupe dashboard can be expanded to include information requested by stakeholders. “Ultimately, we hope to use this system to test the impact of different water management approaches on local water supply and consumption,” said Lisa Morden, global head of sustainability at Kimberly-Clark.
Kimberly-Clark plans to use the WaterLoupe tool in the high-risk river basins where it operates manufacturing facilities by 2022. In the coming months, the company and Deltares will present the dashboard to their NGO partners and other manufacturers to obtain feedback on its functionality and content and identify further improvements.
Kimberly-Clark has worked on a number of water management initiatives In recent years, including:
- Investing in water recycling systems which have reduced the volume of freshwater used in its manufacturing operations by nearly 35 million cubic meters between 2010 and 2016.
- Conducting a water screening assessment to determine which operations are at high risk for water stress, and initiating watershed analyses and target-setting for water-stressed locations.
- Engaging with NGO partners and others in the development of sustainable water management plans at the local level.