Company Develops Corporate Water Gauge

The Center for Sustainable Innovation (CSI) has released a new tool for measuring and reporting the sustainability of corporate water use.

Known as the Corporate Water Gauge™, the new tool makes it possible to measure and report single and enterprise-wide facility-based levels of water use against local precipitation and population data for specific locations. The tool also takes account of local topographical features and watershed boundaries, again with specific geographic locations in mind.

The gauge is the latest implementation of an advanced approach to sustainability metrics developed by CSI, known as sustainability quotients. Measures structured in the form of quotients take actual social and/or environmental conditions into account and are thereby able to put top-line corporate impacts into meaningful context. In the case of the Corporate Water Gauge, water use is measured against both the volume of local water supplies and the size of the population that shares them, as opposed to simply reporting water use in a vacuum.

A geographic information system provides the data structure that links environmental and demographic information and allows analysis and visualization of the combined dataset at a watershed level. Detailed topography models are used to delineate the watersheds in which an organization’s water withdrawals and discharges are made, including those associated with municipal and/or regional utilities. Quantitative scores are then produced that measure and express the sustainability of an organization’s local and global water use.

CSI’s Executive Director Mark W. McElroy, Ph.D., said: “The Corporate Water Gauge™ is the latest result of a 3-year R&D effort to make triple bottom-line measurement and reporting a reality. It, and the broader family of context-based metrics to which it belongs, together comprise what is arguably the most rigorous and meaningful methodology for assessing the true sustainability performance of an organization. And given the increasing urgency of conserving and carefully managing rapidly declining freshwater resources on Earth, this is a management tool whose time has come!”

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