As mentioned in the previous blog, World Economic Forum ranked water for the first time as number one in their Global Risk 2015 Report, water crisis appears first in terms of impact and is highlighted as a societal risk. The rapidly growing world population in combination with the increasing demand for basic services and growing desire for higher standards of living, places this vital resource at the center of all human activities.

The World Economic Forum states:
“Global water crises – from drought in the world’s most productive farmlands to the hundreds of millions of people without access to safe drinking water – are the biggest threat facing the planet over the next decade.”
“Water connects, it doesn’t separate – what manifests itself as a regional or local crisis quickly becomes a global problem. Water crises affect economies of all sizes.”

To learn more about water and its impact we recommend you to read the World Economic Forum´s article Water crises are a top global risk.

We at Mora Water Systems hope that the Global Risk report serves as a wake up call, drawing attention to a reality that is going to determine the future of all industrial activities. We hope that the knowledge of this emerging crisis is going to drive all industries to review their production process, finding new more water efficient ways to provide their products and services to a growing world population. By lowering the water footprint of their products, companies become less vulnerable to the upcoming water crisis.

Lets take a look at two companies that already are doing something about it:

Nike

During this last years Nike has recognizes that water is a fundamental resource for manufacturing their product. Water is used to cultivate cotton, produce other raw materials, dye and finish textiles etc. In a public letter Hannah Jones VP, Nikes Sustainable Business explains:

“In FY01, we established the Nike Sustainable Water Program to collect and track data from material vendors in our supply chain. We began with 50 manufacturing facilities in FY01, and are on track to have more than 500 participants reporting data in FY11.”

To learn more about Nike’s water strategies read Hannah Jones complete letter.

Nike has also teamed up in a strategic partnership with DyeCoo Textile Systems B.V a Nederland based company that has made possible the first commercially available waterless textile-dyeing machine.

MillerCoors

It takes an exponential amount of water to make beer, from the cultivation of the barley and hops to the final bottling of this popular drink, the estimated calculation of the water-use throughout the process is 300 litres of water to make one litre of beer.

From the moment that the raw material arrived at the plant, brewing companies have more control over their water footprint. In average a bottling plant´s water footprint is around six litres of water to create one litre of bottled beer. Many breweries are working on lowering this rate, but the bottle plants are not what makes the industry vulnerable to water scarcity and drought. An estimated 98 percent of the water is used when growing the crops needed to create the drink.

Breweries needs to actively work on their water efficiency beyond their bottling plant. MillerCoors is one of the companies that have started this process. The company partners with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) working with barley farmers in Idaho to coordinate the use of water efficient irrigation-technologies and to establish best practices for water conservation. The Silver Creek project is part nature preserve and part agricultural laboratory. Trees have been strategically planted to keep creeks cooler, supporting the prosperity of the local trout population; vegetation grows along stream banks to prevent loose soil and pollutants from entering the water. A new irrigation pump now disperses water closer to the ground at a low pressure; as a result 1700 cubic metres of water are saved daily.

Read more about this joint project.

To learn more about the beverage industries effort to lower their water footprint, read the New York Times article Beverage Industry Works to Cap Its Water Use.

Turning risks into competitive advantage will create leaders. Working with efficient water harvesting, wastewater recycling and effective irrigation-technologies, will allow companies to produce more with less, enabling them to meet the increasing demands of a growing world population.