I still remember my Water Resources classes given by Dr. G. Jagmohan Das Sir (JNT University) way back in 1997, which dealt with topics around Water Resources, Types of catchment, Rain fall, Run off and its measurement etc. The way professor used to engage us during the class is exceptional, Sir’s practical way of explanation always made me to listen to the topic very carefully. Now over the years we have noticed how important is the topic of water and water stewardship given the depletion of resources, misuse of resources and linear way of water consumption we are noticing on a day-to-day basis. Whatever may be the developmental challenge you name during the current century it is fundamentally tied to water, like food security, urbanization, energy security, environmental protection etc. There are many problems we encounter with the topic of water be it water pollution, drinking water quality, water availability etc., are tied to success of future of generation. It is not a surprise when we hear the proverb that future wars will be fought over water resources. We already noticing how public are raising voice against misuse of water by major corporations, examples include controversy over copper and molybdenum smelting in Shifang in China which made the stoppage of the project (Environmental Justice Atlas), A 2019 article in Science Daily states how Gold mining critically impairs water quality in rivers across Peruvian biodiversity and other such instances like privatization of water or similar incidents in case of Bolivia and even in India we hear such instances.
This year the topic of water day is valuing water. We all aware of its significance in day-to-day use, agriculture, industrial consumption. The quality, quantity and availability are pre-requisite for the sustenance of the generations. The topics of Water stewardship in Industry, Circular water management and Use of Smart technologies for management water will be of huge significance for the optimum management already scarce resources. In this blog i would like to highlight salient features of water management under the broad categories i. Water Stewardship ii. Circular Water Economy and iii. Smart Water management.
The scenarios explained above have given rise to the concept of water stewardship in industries which majorly aim to institutionalizing fair distribution of water to all. The major benefits of water stewardship are many which can be found while doing a literature survey like development of river basin, increase in water use efficiency, public approval, equilibrium of risk and economic development etc. Corporate water strategy helps organizations improve their brand value, drive innovation. Some of the water challenges in value chain include supply chain disruptions, increasing production cost, distribution impairment and change in price structure for the consumer. Any successful water stewardship program has certain stages like Baseline analysis, policy framework development, stakeholder engagement, development of action plan, funding, followed by action program. Details of such stewardship program can be referred in literature. Some of the investment options for meeting corporate water strategy include technological support, employee engagement, organizational development, knowledge management, partnership management etc.
Circular Water Economy:
In case of circular water economy, the aim is to keep the water resources in use as long as possible that is to extract value from water use by encouraging the use of less amounts of minerals, chemicals in the operations and achieve similar efficiency, recovery using optimized technologies, maximize their use and interface with other systems and regenerate products based on reduction of consumptive and non-consumptive methods, avoiding pollution potential etc. This is usually achieved by means of Reuse, Recycle and Reduce methods. There are various ways by which such circular principles can be implemented like communication management, water treatment plants, Agriculture management, Energy generation and information technologies driven decision support systems or smart water management technologies etc.
Smart Water Management Technologies: –
Smart water is universally used to convey the smart metering and smart grid systems for reducing the electricity consumption. It consists of water distribution, usage and wastewater collection, distribution, treatment, and recovery. Smart water systems consist of monitoring and data collection, data transmission and recovery, data Integration and manipulation, presentation. It is used to drive different decision support systems like automatic decision and operations, data analysis systems etc.
To conclude if you look at the consumption pattern of water it is increasing over the years putting pressure on scarce resources which is essential for the survival of man kind. With the need for food security for future generation we depend on fresh water resources for agriculture purposes. It needs a combination of water stewardship, adopting the principles of circular water management and use of digital technologies like Smart water management to ensure success of future generations. The WBSCD defines the concept of valuing water means to considering the all the benefits water provides social, ecological and economic dimensions. With the topics of pandemic, economic down turn, climate change pressing on us, we require to input more conscious efforts valuing water the way it helps in the up-liftment of man kind and its use in industrial sectors, agriculture as a medium of transport, carrier of precious resources and as a key byproduct. There are various valuation methods available for valuing water like qualitative, quantitative or monetary methods. The aim of such valuation is to asses what is the issue at stake and second is how best the issue is addressed. The scope of Water valuation based on Corporate Ecosystem evaluation involves scoping, planning, valuation, application and embedding. Some of the non valuation methods include Life cycle assessment, GIS map based analysis. Details can be found in WBSCD reports. The business case for water valuation is very clear that it helps in enhanced decision making, increases revenue streams, Reduces costs to the organization, Manages risks successfully and Enhances reputation of the organization. We are beginning to value the scarce resources which are used in industrial segment and organizations have started invest in digital tools, Enterprise Software systems, smart water technologies and Artificial Intelligence driven tools. However, more organizations should start investing in this segment valuing, planning and securing their precious resource carefully.