1. Map your water risks
A company must understand the context in which it operates. By identifying where in the value chain the company impacts on water resources, as well as understanding the water context in different geographies, hot spot areas that require priority action can be identified.
2. Prioritise efforts and conduct feasibility analysis
When you have gained an understanding of your company’s impact on water resources it is time to select your top water priorities. The biggest water impact usually lies beyond the direct operations of a company. Since tackling water risks in the supply chain is both time-consuming and costly, you may start by working in the most water stressed basins while getting your own house in order.

3. Set targets and assess baselines

Building on your risk mapping and baseline assessment, you can now start to develop policies and programs with clear water targets and indicators. Targets should come with an action plan, describing the necessary steps to take in order to achieve them, and clarification of roles and mandates. Don’t forget to conduct baseline assessments, so you can easily track improvements over time.

4. Take action and measure progress

Now you can start delivering your action plan! Water is often shared between users, which is why collective approaches are recommended. Some of the water challenges you have identified will not be solved unless you engage other stakeholders dependent on the same waters. To ensure that your activities lead to a real change, measure progress against your baseline. 

5. Follow up performance and report results

Working with water issues is a continuous process. Regular follow-up on performance, will identify new areas of concern which can be addressed by setting new goals and targets. Sharing your results with your stakeholders builds trust, and gives you a benchmark against your peers. Sustainability reporting can also boost internal engagement, as it involves many parts of the business.

6. Engage with stakeholders in your basin

Water Stewardship is about moving beyond the farm gate or production site and looking at the surrounding landscape and the stakeholders in the area where you are located. Measures to improve the local water situation will only be successful if other stakeholders in the catchment also take action towards water efficiency and reduced pollution. Keeping rivers, waterways and aquifers healthy requires cooperation with local governments, communities, other industries and farms sharing the same water.

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