Collecting the Drops: A Water Sustainability Planner

Collecting the Drops: A Water Sustainability Planner is an interactive web tool to be used by companies that are ready to address the water sustainability challenges that are increasingly impacting companies around the world. The GEMI Water Planner is intended to guide a user through the process of taking a corporate sustainability strategy and converting it into a site or unit strategy for water.

Business risk and opportunity assessments have evolved to include analyses of water use, impact of use and “license to operate” considerations. These assessments are used to create short- and long-term water sustainability strategies. Collecting the Drops: A Water Sustainability Planner is a tool segregated into three Modules that guides a facility user through: the process of assessing the facility’s specific water uses/needs in comparison to the availability of water in the region; the impacts these operations pose on the available water resources; and the identification of factors that may pose a risk on the operation’s ability to produce. Case examples of how GEMI members have identified opportunities to efficiently manage water resources are also provided.

There are several factors that, when all summed up, form an operation’s relationship to water. These factors can include such items as: the quality and quantity of water available for use, the cost of water, environmental sensitivities of the region, current/projected community development and the adequacy of the current infrastructure.

Regions throughout the world are experiencing significant water shortages. Population shifts to coastal regions, smaller towns and cities adjacent to large cities have stressed existing suburban infrastructure and required agencies to impose further restrictions or cost sharing with users. However, growth can occur without further stress on water resources and there are several cases of sustainable growth in water “limited” areas. In parallel, the cost of water has increased, and will likely continue to increase around the world driven by demand for high quality water and limits on the resources. Water conservation efforts have been imposed in many areas throughout the world and require groundwater and surface water use allocation permits.

The document and this web site have been developed to provide facility staff or operating division staff the tools and guidance to perform an assessment of their facility’s water use and the impacts on the local or regional water supply. Guidance and individual programs are provided to assist the user in understanding the wide range of considerations that may apply. Also included are case examples of how GEMI members have engaged internal and external stakeholders in dialogue and generated actions to promote overall water supply resource management and conservation. Although Collecting the Drops: A Water Sustainability Planner is self-standing, facility users are encouraged to review the related GEMI tools noted below for the purpose of understanding the considerations that could be taken into account when evaluating sustainability drivers.