Focusing on analysis and management, this interactive tool provides a detailed risk analysis of a company’s management response performance. While the Global Water Tool can be applied to company’s whole portfolio, the GEMI Local Water Tool enables a site or process specific analysis. Results can be exported to common reporting tools.

Description

The Global Water Tool (GWT) is a free, open source resource for identifying corporate water risks and opportunities that provides access to and analysis of critical data. It includes a workbook (data input, inventory by site, key reporting indicators, metrics calculations), a mapping function to plot sites on top of datasets, and Google Earth interface for spatial viewing.

The GWT provides a quick, initial screening of risks which can be complemented with the GEMI Local Water Tool (LWT) for a site or process specific risk analysis. The LWT is specialized for companies that wish to investigate the impacts of their water usage and discharge at a specific site or operation. Companies can employ the GWT to identify and prioritize high risk sites in their portfolios, and then employ the LWT to further evaluate the high risk locations and identify actions to manage the risks. An option is provided in the LWT to enable the user to easily transfer specific site data from the GWT.

The Global Water Tool was developed for companies and any other stakeholders operating in multiple countries who need to better understand the water issues in their operations and that of their extended supply chain. It is compatible with the GRI, CDP Water, Bloomberg and Dow Jones Sustainability Index for communication with internal and external stakeholders.

Farming

The user must enter data on total water withdrawal, distribution among different sources including freshwater sources (surface water, groundwater, municipal/potable water supply, external wastewater and rainwater) and non-freshwater sources (ocean, surface, groundwater and external wastewater) and recycled/reused water which is set against a range of basin risk indicators. These are among others water stress, renewable water supply levels, total water withdrawal of the area, baseline water stress, water dependency ratio, desalinated water production and population growth; some factors available per country, others per watershed.

The “external stress severity level” describes the current condition of a specific water source. It is selected by the user (based on own research) for specific issues on each water source, and should represent natural physical conditions and cumulative anthropogenic impacts. Future reliability of water sources is covered in GEMI through water availability projections that take climate change, water demand from agriculture and livestock and industrial growth into account.

For each water source category in the Global Water Tool, pH and TDS (total dissolved solids) is indicated. The GEMI Local Water Tool requires data on TDS, COD (chemical oxygen demand) and turbidity. These quality records are compared with the effluent water discharge quality to assess the impact of the company’s water use on the quality of the water source.

Covered in the Global Water Tool through the risk indicator of “biodiversity hotspots”, as defined by Conservation International (CI) and the Environmental Water Stress Index.

Due to the lack of global biodiversity risk datasets of sufficient granularity for a site specific analysis, local or watershed based datasets are recommended in the GEMI Local Water Tool. One example is the IBAT for business dataset based on data from CI Biodiversity Hotspots and Wilderness Areas, Ramsar Sites, Protected Areas, Alliance for Zero Extinction sites, World Heritage Sites, Key Biodiversity Areas, Important Bird Areas, and the IUCN Red List.

Water reuse is covered by the GRI indicator EN10 “Percentage and total volume of water recycled and reused”. In GRI, recycling is defined as the amount of water/wastewater employed through another cycle back in the same process or in a higher use in the process cycle before discharge for final treatment and/or discharge to the environment. Reuse is defined as the amount of water/wastewater employed in another function in a lower use in the process cycle before discharge for final treatment and/or discharge to the environment. It also includes wastewater used for irrigation and harvesting of rainwater within a facility boundary.

Covered by risk indicator “access to water and sanitation” as defined by the Joint Monitoring Programme, JMP (proportion of total, urban and rural population served with improved water and improved sanitation). Not taking into account impacts of the company’s own activities.

Future reliability of water sources is covered in the Global Water Tool through water availability projections (“renewable water supply”). Furthermore, the GEMI Local Water Tool includes water availability projections based on projected climate change, water demand from agriculture and livestock, electrification and industrial growth.

Discharge is defined as either freshwater or non-freshwater, and discharged collected rainwater, domestic sewage and wastewater removed via truck is also included. Another distinction is made between point source and non-point discharge and here the receiving water body must be defined.

A company’s individual impact on a particular receiving waterbody or entity is defined as the extent to which the volume and/or quality of water discharged by a company in a specific watershed affects the availability of water for other uses or harms health or ecosystems in any other way. The level of impact is defined by applying a “magnitude of company contribution factor” to the “external stress severity level” (see Overexploited water source). This approach enables identification and comparison of relative levels of impacts at a site level.

Processing

The user must enter data on total water withdrawal, distribution among different sources including freshwater sources (surface water, groundwater, municipal/potable water supply, external wastewater and rainwater) and non-freshwater sources (ocean, surface, groundwater and external wastewater) and recycled/reused water which is set against a range of basin risk indicators. These are among others water stress, renewable water supply levels, total water withdrawal of the area, baseline water stress, water dependency ratio, desalinated water production and population growth; some factors available per country, others per watershed.

The “external stress severity level” describes the current condition of a specific water source. It is selected by the user (based on own research) for specific issues on each water source, and should represent natural physical conditions and cumulative anthropogenic impacts. Future reliability of water sources is covered in GEMI through water availability projections that take climate change, water demand from agriculture and livestock and industrial growth into account.

For each water source category in the Global Water Tool, pH and TDS (total dissolved solids) is indicated. The GEMI Local Water Tool instead requires data on TDS, COD (chemical oxygen demand) and turbidity. These quality records are compared with the effluent water discharge quality to assess the impact of the company’s water use on the quality of the water source.

Discharge is defined as either freshwater or non-freshwater, and discharged collected rainwater, domestic sewage and wastewater removed via truck is also included. Another distinction is made between point source and non-point discharge and here the receiving water body must be defined.

A company’s individual impact on a particular receiving waterbody or entity is defined as the extent to which the volume and/or quality of water discharged by a company in a specific watershed affects the availability of water for other uses or harms health or ecosystems in any other way. The level of impact is defined by applying a “magnitude of company contribution factor” to the “external stress severity level” (see Overexploited water source). This approach enables identification and comparison of relative levels of impacts at a site level.

Water for cooling is included in the calculation of the facility’s total water consumption.

Water as an ingredient is included in the calculation of the facility’s total water consumption.

Water reuse is covered by the GRI indicator EN10 “Percentage and total volume of water recycled and reused”. In GRI, recycling is defined as the amount of water/wastewater employed through another cycle back in the same process or in a higher use in the process cycle before discharge for final treatment and/or discharge to the environment. Reuse is defined as the amount of water/wastewater employed in another function in a lower use in the process cycle before discharge for final treatment and/or discharge to the environment. It also includes wastewater used for irrigation and harvesting of rainwater within a facility boundary.

Covered by risk indicator “access to water and sanitation” as defined by the Joint Monitoring Programme, JMP (proportion of total, urban and rural population served with improved water and improved sanitation). Not taking into account impacts of the company’s own activities.