Should we focus on water efficiency or risk mitigation?

Wanted to post my quick response to this blog post on Developing a Sustainable Water Strategy.

If “we need a joined-up approach to managing water supplies to prevent a water crisis in the future” then is focusing on internal auditing and cuts really the first step? It seems like cutting water use per product is what we’re good at, but not necessarily what’s most strategic from a business standpoint. Cutting litres per product is pleasantly like cutting tons of carbon per prodcut, but the business implications are radically different. When you cut carbon you generate energy savings that fall to the bottom line. Not so with water, unless the water is energy-intensive to acquire and prepare.

Water touches the bottom line primarily as business risk, not as cost savings, and that requires a very different strategy. Rather than investing in water efficient toilets, it makes sense for firms to invest in in-depth analysis to understand their risks, then invest in strategic partnerships and other big strategies to mitigate those risks. It’s those partnerships and big changes that will ultimately save more water and give us the water-resilient economy that we need.

Water efficient toilets matter, and ideally I would like both. It’s just worth noting that the business case for risk mitigation is stronger.


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