“Water- a bequest of nature” bases all innovations in curbing water crisis to make our blue planet green and sustainable.
When seen from the depths of space, our planet sheens a beaming glorious blue. Ever wondered why? Well, it isn’t hardcore science that would leave everyone scratching their heads. It’s common knowledge that the Earth’s shiny blue color is because of the seas and ocean. Mother Earth is seemingly awashed with water, still the issue of water scarcity ploughs its way to the headlines every other summer. It has become the burning issue of the century and sources are saying that by 2025, a ballpark estimate of 1.8 billion people will live in areas inundated by water scarcity, accounting for two-thirds of the global population.
With water crisis skyrocketing frantically and water contamination mushrooming to boot, corporates all over the world are strategizing ways to ensure their survival in the long run. Water scarcity and pollution are two issues that need to be addressed collectively as holistic approaches with strong cohesive involvement of industries, government and individuals.
In the previous blog, we’d delved into the concept of water neutrality and its significance in this day and age. Water stewardship and its framework has become crucial for companies, governments, and even individuals to scrutinize their actions and take effective measures in order to move towards water sustainability.
Water stewardship initiatives provide companies with the opportunity of long-term sustainable resource availability and reduced risk to the business. It gives the organization a chance to reduce a collective impact by strengthening their management of direct and indirect resource consumption and at the same time enhance the image of the company as thoughtful and visionary leaders.
Experts in the field of water, with their extensive experience are coming up with neoteric solutions, innovative ideas and effective strategies to succour corporates, institutions and water-users in general to achieve their sustainability goals. With their extensive industry expertise, these professionals assist companies to develop sustainable water management strategies that would help them to achieve their water stewardship goals and balance out water footprints.
Bonneville Environment Foundation
One such organization is Oregon-based non-profit, Bonneville Environment Foundation (BEF) that provides custom corporate sustainability solutions. BEF with its ingenious and tactful market-based projects, assists companies to maximize long-term environmental and social impact within the markets, germane to the business. With its Water Restoration Program and Water Restoration Certificates (WRCs), the foundation offers a platform to help companies balance their water footprint by riddling out various strategies and innovative sustainable solutions.
Launched in 2008 by the BEF, WRCs are voluntary, market-based programs that provide farmers, ranchers and water users in general with economic inducements to concoct fresh water management solutions that rehabilitate water to the ecosystems. Todd Reeve, the CEO of this foundation, pertaining to the programs and certificates, stated the following in an interview last year-
“This really created a new mindset that helps individuals, companies and businesses think about the value of water in a stream, wetland, lake, and begin to understand the economic values, community values and sustainability values of having healthy flowing ecosystems.”
Each WRC purchased, symbolizes 1,000 gallons of water restored to a critically dewatered ecosystem and directly contributes to reinstating the recreational and ecological vitality of freshwater ecosystems. With each project, BEF pays out money to local conservation organizations, which are endowed with the expertise to develop projects that restore an equivalent number of gallons.
The WRC restoration projects are certified and swotted by The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, a widely recognized leader in freshwater restoration for the past 12 years, in order to ensure optimal environment benefit.
“The program and these certificates offer a real opportunity to fundamentally and forever change the way we think about water.” – Todd Reeve, CEO
Collectively, BEF and its partners have restored over 13.5 billion gallons of water across 7 states through the acquisition of Water Restoration Certificates. That’s the same volume of water that would fill around 2.7 million average sized bathtubs!
Against the same background, First Climate, a pioneer in environmental asset management has assisted many private and public sector organizations to achieve their climate and sustainability objectives. First Climate, with its sustainable water management strategies, water quality credits, water projects and water benefit certificates has helped companies that strive to achieve water stewardship.
Water quality credits are quantified and substantiated exemplifications of diminution of pollutants within a water system. One credit is equal to one pound of total nitrogen (TN) or total phosphorus (TP) that, through voluntary action, is prevented from discharging into water. With the lurching escalation in pollution levels, water quality credits are just what every company needs!
Water benefit projects are drawn out for corporations with water stewardship goals beyond their own production facilities. They are performance-based finance approaches (payment for performance) to address global water crisis. From the outset, a project developer with some upfront investment chalks out projects and performance-based business models that would have environmental benefits. After the implementation, these projects are assessed, monitored and verified on a regular basis till the outcome is produced.
First climate finances outputs rather than inputs from various companies, NGOs, institutions or even individuals, which gives these investors a sense of certainty for the end results. Once the desired outcome is generated, companies, governments, NGOs, individuals, aid organizations who want to make a positive impact can buy them in the form of certifications called Water Benefit Certificates. These certificates attested by The Golden Standard, a trusted certification standard are issued apropos of the water-positive outcomes engendered.
The World Wide Fund
WWF-India, in response to the daunting increase in the demand and consumption of water, is empowering businesses from across the sectors and geographies to embark on water stewardship journeys. WWF-India’s water stewardship model fosters a ‘journey’ that succours businesses to minimalize their deleterious impact on water and become better water stewards.
The World Wide Fund, world’s leading conservation organization, is one of the founding members of the Alliance for Water Stewardship along with some global leaders in sustainable water management including The Nature Conservancy, United Nations Environment Programme, UN Global compact’s CEO Water Mandate and many more.
“AWS and its standard will help drive this coordination globally, but also in regions and—most importantly—in river basins. It will make water stewardship something that’s real and not just a concept”, says Karin Krchank, director, freshwater, WWF.
AWS has established International Water Stewardship Standard 1.0 (following the ISEAL’s Codes of Good Practice) which delineates the criteria for good water stewardship. It was developed to affiliate sustainability initiatives and support independent certifications with varying levels of recognition.
Alliance for Water Stewardship- IWSN
AWS played an active role in the establishment of the India Water Stewardship Network (IWSN) in 2016. The IWSN symphonizes organizations from different sectors to promote and understand water stewardship in the Indian context. It uses AWS Standard, as a criterion for developing water stewardship and its framework. AWS has been offering a variety of ways to improve, incentivize and recognize responsible water use.
All those organizations who strive to be better water stewards can become a member of AWS. By working with AWS, business, institutions, development agencies, sustainability service providers and NGOs can learn what they can do to help protect shared resources, as well as shape the future of water stewardship.
The Alliance for Water Stewardship measures its sustainability efforts by providing certifications for authentication and assurance of achieving global benchmark for responsible stewardship. The AWS has stated six key steps for route for certifications-
1. Familiarize your site with the AWS Standard and commit to implement and certify.
2. Complete and submit the site registration form on page ‘Register your site with AWS’.
3. Implement the AWS Standard, either alone or with an AWS accredited consultant.
4. Contract an AWS accredited conformity assessment body (CAB).
5. Get your site audited and address any gaps highlighted.
6. Get your site’s AWS certification.
Hydration, from a green perspective
As discussed in the previous blog also, choosing the source of hydration is a critical aspect to achieve water stewardship but is often flouted by businesses. Companies need to wrap their heads around the fact that bottled water, the premium choice for hydration leads to nothing but negative water footprints which propels the company further away from its sustainability goals.
Organizations that strive be to water positive need to shift to sustainable alternatives that will bring them closer to achieving water neutrality and help them in acquiring the testified certificates by the accredited certification agencies mentioned above.
WAE as a facilitator
WAE, an integrated water resource management company endeavors to create a purposeful and enduring impact with its environment-friendly, salubrious and sanitary products, sustainable technologies alongside innovative green-building solutions on the environment with the purpose of protecting and improving the quality of life, sustainably. WAE, with its strong beliefs and principles is fully committed to this precious resource and aspires to revolutionize the ways with which companies manage it.
A connoisseur in the field of water and its reuse, our company has empowered organizations to achieve their sustainability goals by water preservation and footprint reduction. With our sustainable hydration solutions and water management technologies, our sustainable products scrape off water rejection upto 20%!
Our compliant products including drinking water stations, bottle filling stations, drinking water fountains, atmosphere water generators recirculate 100% water which can be reused for various purposes, thus enabling zero water footprint in themselves! Unlike the eco villain, bottled water, these sustainable alternatives do not contribute to water mining. Furthermore, they slash down the direct and indirect carbon emissions by eliminating the use of fossil- fuel dependent plastic bottle.
Our company with its turn key solutions, manages the entire water circulation in the building and ensures minimal water wastage by installing potable sewage treatment plants which recycle 90% of the waste water!
Companies, along with mediators and facilitators need to meticulously draw out green-building models that would help them become better water stewards. With the water crisis shooting up, biodynamic technologies, eco-conscious alternatives and sustainable innovative solutions are the need of the hour! Corporates need to cognize their own operations, water consumption, the operating environment and all the deleterious impacts of their business to analyze the risk to the environment and take a holistic approach to tackle the water woes.
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