Against this backdrop, the non-profit Carbon Disclosure Project is calling on companies to measure and publicly report their “water footprint.” Already 137 financial institutions, representing over $16 trillion worth of assets, have joined this march towards water use transparency, including the Allianz Group , HSBC and ING . Of course water and carbon are inextricably linked, because we use dramatically increasing amounts of fossil-fueled energy to obtain H2O, either by pumping from greater depths/distances or by “manufacturing” water with desalination plants, which increases carbon footprints at a time when countries and companies are scrambling to lower them.
Presumably, if the world knows how and where water is being consumed, perhaps we can find ways to conserve it and distribute it more equitably. We already know that agriculture and electricity generation account for about 90 percent of reported water use globally, but a recent study of over 400 industries revealed that 60 percent of the water used for things like packaging and shipping comes from sources that are not measured and reported. In other words, as fast as we’re depleting known reserves, we’re probably depleting groundwater and other “hidden” assets even faster.Page 2 of 5 | Prev Page | Next Page