Water management: reference and organisation listing

Date : 01 December 2009

- The importance of water
- Raising awareness
- Organisations engaged in water management
- Key water management activities
- Downloadable reference document
- Further information

The importance of water

Understanding the importance of water to the food and beverage sector is business critical.

Pressure on freshwater resources is increasing as a result of a growing global population, the impacts of climate change, an increase in the demand for water for energy, and growth in consumption of water-intense products. In addition, one of the key United Nations Millennium Development Goal objectives to 2015 is a basic human right to reliable, affordable sources of clean water.

"Water scarcity is now the single biggest threat to global food security"
Earth Policy Institute

Water is increasingly recognised as vital to developing supply chain resilience. The longer-term ability of supply chains to maintain output, quality and price will depend on freshwater supplies.

Raising awareness

Although awareness of the importance of water is increasing, knowledge and engagement in relation to this multi-faceted issue is fragmented and incomplete.

In response to this, we have undertaken work to signpost the wide range of organisations currently engaged in the many aspects of managing water in the food and beverage supply chain.

Organisations engaged in water management

With support from IGD members, we have created a directory featuring more than 60 organisations engaged in water management. Our breadth of knowledge and experience, from farming to retailing, ensures the whole grocery supply chain is considered. This free directory can be downloaded via the link below.

The directory includes organisations that are engaged in a wide range of water-related issues, from drainage and flooding through to irrigation, water use and water consumption. It includes bodies representing industry and governments, as well as non-governmental organisations, both in the UK and internationally.

Within the directory, there is a brief description of each organisation’s activities, a summary of their water-related work, a link to their website and links to other organisations where appropriate.

Key water management activities

Our directory of organisations involved in water management indicates that there are a wide range of activities associated with water stewardship. These activities include:

  • The development of tools to manage water and the creation of standards to ensure consistency and conformity in water measurement, both nationally and internationally
  • Research into the physical aspects of water, such as quality, storage, cleaning and distribution, as well as the virtual aspect of the total amount of water used along the supply chain
  • Measurement of water footprints (also known as embedded water or virtual water), which is the measure of the total amount of water used in the production of goods and services. The concept of water footprinting is more than ten years old but organisations are refining it all the time to gain a greater understanding of the implications of water usage associated with food and beverage products
  • A focus on water consumption and use, looking at direct water consumption and usage in a specific geographic location, while giving advice on how to reduce consumption, re-use water and manage leaks
  • Examination of the impacts of flooding, which is likely to increase as a result of heavier rainfall, increased intensity, rising sea levels and greater run-off. In particular, flooding affects crop production. In our directory we have listed organisations that give advice on how to reduce the risk of, and respond to, flooding
  • Management of water quality, since water can vary in terms of required quality standards, from drinking water for humans and animals, to cleaning water, water for irrigation and water used in the energy sector. In our directory we have highlighted organisations responsible for establishing and maintaining standards for water, an important aspect of water governance and stewardship
  • Creation of case studies by organisations, illustrating the work they are doing around water stewardship
  • We have also identified organisations that represent members of the food and beverage industry

Downloadable reference document

The objective of our directory is to provide a reference point for those wanting to understand more about a specific aspect of water use, or the wider implications of water use, in the food and beverage supply chain.

IGD, with support from members and other stakeholders, will build on this document to promote engagement and best practice in this important area of sustainability.

Click on the following link to find out more and download the free document:

Water in your Supply Chain directory

Please note, apart from one or two very limited examples for illustration, we have not included the many commercial organisations that sell and promote an extensive range of products or services to manage water.

Further information

We trust you will find the list useful, but acknowledge that not every organisation is represented.

We plan to update it when there are significant changes. If you have any comments or observations in relation to the list please contact Alan Hayes at [email protected]

Related Internet links:

- Earth Policy Institute

(IGD is not responsible for the content of external sites)