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New tool helps businesses calculate water risk

A free-to-use online tool has been launched to help businesses calculate how future water scarcity may impact their revenue.

A free-to-use online tool has been launched to help businesses calculate how future water scarcity may impact their revenue. 

The Water Risk Monetiser was first developed in 2014 by UK head-quartered environmental data specalists, Trucost, and global water technology firm, Ecolab, but has now been upgraded to enable users to calculate the potential financial impact and likelihood of increased water risk.

The tool correlates local water scarcity data to specific business considerations, such as the amount of water used in operations, and compares the amount of water the facility requires to generate revenue against its allocated ‘share’ of water from the local water basin. The share will vary depending on competing water users in the basin and the facility’s contribution to economic growth. 

Water value

In other words, the tool provides businesses with a risk-adjusted water price - based on what water would cost if supply and demand were reflected accurately - and the amount of revenue that could potentially be at risk. These figures can then be used to help make the business case for water efficiency improvements. 

According to Richard Mattison, chief executive of Trucost, water risk is not on the radar for many businesses because the cost of water does not reflect its true value.

“The [tool] illuminates the threat that businesses face from water scarcity”, he said. “It helps companies raise awareness about the need for investing in sustainable water management, as well as providing a practical water risk assessment tool to factor water scarcity into business decisions.”

‘Era of scarcity’

Douglas Baker, chair of Ecolab, said: “As water scarcity increases around the world, business leaders need actionable information to help them understand and manage their current and future water-related risks.

“The Water Risk Monetiser helps businesses make informed decisions to enable growth in their new era of water scarcity.”

A recent report from WWF-UK called for businesses to “wake up” to the reality of water scarcity, with 80 per cent of UK imports estimated to come from regions that are under moderate or high water stress. 

Risks are particularly high for the food and drink, metals, pharmaceuticals and textiles industries.

The Water Risk Monetiser was officially unveiled at the World Water Week 2015 conference in Stockholm, which ran from 23-28 August 2015. To access the tool, click here.