Provides the tools that allow companies to understand the fundamental concepts of water resource management and to take proper action towards sustainable development
Businesses, communities, and ecosystems everywhere depend on clean freshwater to survive and prosper. When the same source of water is shared for economic, social, and environmental causes it becomes the responsibility of every sector to develop a sustainable water strategy beneficial for all. This book offers a water resource management plan for industries that is directly implementable and consistent with the Water Framework Directives of different countries with a special emphasis on developing countries--a plan that is economically efficient, socially equitable, and environmentally sustainable.
Industrial Water Resource Management, Challenges and Opportunities for Efficient Water Stewardship offers explicit technical and investment solutions, socioeconomic and legal instruments, and recommendations for institutional restructuring. Written by a leading world expert in the field, it covers a wide range of topics including:
* Source water assessment and protection
* Water audit, industrial water footprint assessment--an evaluation of tools and methodologies
* Corporate water disclosure methods and tools
* Water stewardship by the industries
* Stakeholder collaboration and engagement
* New technologies enabling companies to better manage water resources
Given the well-known challenge of managing natural resources in a way that maximizes and sustains social welfare, this book provides an invaluable point of reference for applied researchers and policy makers working in water resources management.
Pradip K. Sengupta, Hydrologist, works at the Jadavpur Centre for Study of Earth Science, India.
The online edition of Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word 'stewardship' as 'the activity or job of protecting and being responsible for something'. This goes a long way towards explaining the subject matter of this book, that is, the responsibility of the corporate world to society by way of water stewardship; which, in recent times, has become an essential part of corporate management termed corporate water stewardship (CSW).
In 1776, Adam Smith introduced the concept of the 'invisible hand' in his book The Wealth of Nations, which instantly became the driving force of industrialisation and capitalism. The philosophy propounds that every individual strives to make as much money as he can; he neither intends to promote public interest, nor knows how much he is promoting it "he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was not a part of his intention. The fact that it was not a part of his intention does not always worsen the situation for the society. By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it. I have never known much good have been done by those who affected to trade for the public good" (italics mine). What Adam Smith could not have foreseen two and a half centuries ago is the ambivalence of rapid industrialisation, which is plainly visible now: Aside from accelerating modernization (see Chaplin's Modern Times), the invisible hand is surreptitiously leading the world to unliveable conditions (which is hardly surprising, seeing that the maximum impetus to technological advancement came from the two World Wars and the Cold War that followed).
It is high time for the world to become aware of the water problem before the problem becomes irreversible. This book aims to promote such awareness, and I hope that my Muse will grant me such simplicity so that my readers can identify with the subject in hand and the book may acquire another status - not that of a polemic, nor of a mere source of topical reference but of turning it into a well-described text with an attempt to present it to, and make it understood by large numbers of the public; that, then, is my priority in which simplicity of presentation is just as important as the idea of water stewardship vis-à-vis industrialization.
When I started my career as a hydro-geologist in a state government department of India in the mid-1970s, the concept that water is a 'resource', like gold, for instance, was incomprehensible to users; in my home state, West Bengal, water is quite abundant, by virtue of an average rainfall of more than 1500?mm per year and groundwater level close enough to the surface to make dug wells and tube wells affordable even to low-income groups. The West Bengal landscape is dotted by huge waterbodies used for irrigation and fisheries. Most of the rivers are perennial and navigable in the rainy season. Availability of usable water was taken for granted, except in the relatively thinly populated western districts, which are chronically draught-prone. The Gangetic alluvial plain is one of the richest aquifers in the world. During the 1970s, the government of West Bengal was implementing the 'Minor Irrigation Policy' by installing thousands of deep and shallow tube wells across the state. Groundwater was exploited as an apparently inexhaustible resource and was made available to small and marginal farmers at subsidised rates. It was a boon to the farmers. Needless to say, however, such good times do not last forever. By the end of the 1980s, the water problem was first noticed when arsenic in toxic concentrations was detected in the groundwater of eastern districts. It was also observed that groundwater levels had gone down in many areas, so opportunistically, many privately owned irrigation tube wells came up and farmers had to purchase water at a premium. This was the time when water started becoming an unorganised business sector not just in West Bengal but in India as a whole.
It was during these times of rising water problems that I visited some of the other states of India, some of which differed from West Bengal in terms of hydrogeological conditions and, therefore, water culture in general. The groundwater level in some states was so deep that heavy-duty submersible pumps were required to lift water from low-yielding aquifers. Those states are still suffering from a chronic shortage of water due to over-extraction, erratic rainfall and poor aquifer storage. In my home state too, the hydrological scenario has changed rapidly under the pressure of the minor irrigation sector; aquifer levels went far below the centrifugal pumping limits pushing extraction costs beyond the affordability of small and marginal farmers, who constitute the vast majority of the agricultural sector. Heavy industry was not a big player in the water market at that time because their number in West Bengal was lower compared to other states. Heavy industries started exploring West Bengal prospects in the 1990s, and it was land, not water, which was the main hurdle. Resistance to industrialisation came mainly from small and marginal farmers who, as mentioned earlier, constitute the majority and depended almost solely on agriculture for livelihood; farmer resistance, therefore, had the support of the civil society. Consequently, industries were allotted land in non-agricultural belts, that is in hard-rock or laterite-covered areas deficient in water. Though the land was made available, water scarcity of this land compelled industries to take appropriate measures to secure their water supply, which meant industries had to draw water from distal aquifers and rivers, which in turn, formed the lifeline of the agrarian population in the source region. It soon became clear that industries could take water for granted. Perforce, therefore, industrialists had to assure rural people that industries would not snatch their glass of water and, for a substantive assurance campaign, industrialists had to undertake a quantified assessment of water like any other valuable resource. Industry, agriculture and society thus became entwined in issues relating to water; the issues being over-withdrawal, quality deterioration by contamination, and monopolisation of water sources.
In agriculture-based economies of South and Southeast Asia, industrialisation collided head on with farming communities and domestic water consumption. What was once considered to be a boon now became a polarising force separating two fundamentally important economic sectors: agriculture and manufacturing. The only way to surmount, or at least mitigate the divisive force of water is informed management of water distribution, that is, water stewardship. With hindsight, it can be appreciated that the modified avatar of water was an inevitable consequence of the steam-powered Industrial Revolution set in motion by colonising countries. Moreover, there is also the climate change set in motion by industrialisation, compounding the job of water stewardship.
The British Geological Survey document, Groundwater Information Sheet on The Impact of Industrial Activity (Water Aid, 2008) termed industries as an environmental pressure. It claims that industries draw much more water than they consume and are fraught with polluted effluent discharge to the environment. Untreated wastewater has the potential to cause irreversible damage to the ecosystem. As an instrument of economic development, industries need to act as facilitators of social wellbeing; this is a tough task, but it is crucial to sustainability. There are laws and enforcement machinery, however, to compel industries to move on the right track. In developed countries and also in some developing countries, there are stringent laws to compel industries to ensure pollution-free discharge. But safeguarding the remaining water reserve is not enough. Usable water like any other geological resource is finite, but population growth is unbounded. Water stewardship is mandated to keep economic growth running apace with growing population.
The introductory chapter (Chapter 1) of this book provides an overview of the status of global water, how it is shared by different sectors of the society like domestic, agriculture and industry, and the various effects forced upon the ecosystem due to such sharing processes. The introduction also deals with other topics like why water is a critical business issue for companies and why water crisis is a risk to their operations and brands. The chapter also discusses how industries should manage water from an ethical standpoint and how water should be priced and evaluated. Pre-war industries, and especially the war industries during World War II, operated without restraint; but now industries are facing social and political pressure to operate under regulating norms. Since manufacturing industries are major consumers of fresh water, it is incumbent upon them to foster green growth through water stewardship.
In Chapter 2 global trends of business are put into perspective against the backdrop of water crisis; that is, how business relates to global water crisis and how increased consumption leads to conflicts as a consequence of population growth; the impact of the ever-increasing demand of water for industrial growth is also discussed. Also offered for discussion are examples of water-related conflicts in different parts of the world. The...