GE, Dow, Goldman Launch ‘Unprecendented’ Water Mapping Project

by | Aug 17, 2011

Dow Chemical, Talisman Energy, GE and United Technologies are among the members of an alliance, launched yesterday, which aims to provide companies with an unprecedented level of detail on global water risks.

Aqueduct Alliance, created by the World Resources Institute, aims to assess and respond to increasing water risks around the world. The consortium is set to include the private and public sectors, non-profits and academia. Members so far also include Goldman Sachs and Bloomberg, and Coca-Cola is supporting the alliance by providing an extensive global database of once proprietary water risk information, the WRI said.

Aqueduct’s global water risk database will enable companies, investors, governments, and others to create water risk maps with a never-before-seen level of detail and resolution, the WRI said. These maps will combine advanced hydrological data with geographically-specific indicators that capture social, economic, and governance factors.

The publicly-available and transparent database will help companies to reduce their water footprint in high-risk areas, and also allow government leaders to develop more equitable, efficient, and sustainable resources management in water-stressed basins, WRI said.

WRI has already developed a working prototype of the database and risk mapping tool, covering the Yellow River Basin in northern China, and will soon launch an updated interactive web platform that includes global and basin-specific maps and information on water related risks.

In a survey of 150 large corporations conducted by CDP Water Disclosure, nearly 40 percent of responding companies indicated that they had already experienced disruptions in operations, increases in expenses, and other detrimental impacts related to water.

“Businesses and governments are increasingly concerned with water-related risks, which can negatively impact profitability and continued economic growth,” said Kirsty Jenkinson, Director of WRI’s Markets and Enterprise Program. “Aqueduct will provide accurate, high quality information together with a platform for businesses and governments to address water risks beyond physical water scarcity, including regulatory and socioeconomic risks.”

“Water risk is becoming an increasingly critical global issue, but one that is inherently local and not yet fully considered in business and investment decisions,” said Kyung-Ah Park, Managing Director for the Goldman Sachs Environmental Markets Group, one of the founding partners in the Aqueduct project. “Aqueduct will work to facilitate better management of water risk and help identify market opportunities that drive more sustainable economic development.”

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