Responsible water management

Responsible Water Management

Good practices
Biome's role
Anchoring & facilitating

The last decade in India has seen many conflicts – big and small – arising from waters being diverted from rural/agricultural use for urban or industrial use. This “water cost” is emerging as an increasingly critical issue at a time when India seeks to propel itself into an urban-industrial powerhouse. It is therefore important that India learns how to manage its water for this growth. Industry’s relationship with water has largely been driven by the need to secure its supply, regulation and pollution control norms. There is a need now for Industry to be more pro-active and imaginative when engaging with issues of water. Responsible water use is today an imperative: both to ensure business continuity and for laying a stronger foundation for sustainable growth. Therefore, Indian Industry has to lead the efforts in understanding and implementing ecologically sound and equitable water management in an increasingly industrializing India.

In this spirit, a study was done to understand what it means for a business house to be responsible in its water use. This effort was not meant to be limited to specific campuses’ water practices, but rather to interpret these practices within the larger context of the city.

It is intended firstly, to institutionalize action towards sustainable water management across the business house as an organization and secondly, to define a longer term engagement for the business house with the issue of water – for action, research and advocacy.

As a part of this study a tool was developed to self-assess and guide internal action towards water responsibility. The tool is a framework to aid institutionalizing the objective of responsible water use & management.

It is important to first indicate the limitations of the framework. Firstly, it is a tool and not an end in itself. The framework is a starting point and it is meant to evolve with use and feedback. The framework is meant to be applied at each campus by the management and the infrastructure teams.

Attempt has been made to keep it simple to use and to make it independent of location, campus ownership type or time. In its current state the framework addresses water resources and its use by humans. The water-energy trade-off is touched upon. However the framework itself does not answer the question of entitlement, nor does it address other ecological or social issues such as land, energy, bio-diversity or environmental flows.

The foundations of the framework are the following:

1. Keeping Tab of the following set of Responsible water use metrics;

2. Demand Metric;

3. Responsible Siting Metric;

4. Water Sustainability Metric;

5. Embodied Energy.

Assign targets for improvement in one or more of these metrics and ensure that there are people in the organization responsible for these targets.

a. Ensure there is a process by which these targets translate to Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) of relevant personnel within the organization;

b. Ensure that adequate Knowledge is brought to bear to enable the meeting of these targets. This may be through a combination of capacity building of the Corporate’s own personnel and through creative partnerships with others in the relevant sectors;

c. It is important to recognize that the responsibility of water management should not lie solely with the personnel charged with the function. The onus of responsible water use should be across the organization and therefore processes to achieve the same should be inclusive – aiming to involve everybody in the organisation – both as employees of the Corporate and as citizens of the city and country;

d. And finally Transparency should underpin all action. Transparency should be interpreted not only in terms of global or national reporting, but in the context of entitlements, and local processes of trust building to achieve paths of self-regulation.

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