With climate change acting as a “threat multiplier” and exacerbating water stress, it is critical that companies understand the water-related risks facing their business, according to Stefanie Woodward, WSP USA environmental project consultant, in an article for the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB).
Water risk can be grouped into three categories:
• physical risks, which stem from having too little water, too much water or water that is unfit for use;
• regulatory risks, which occur because of changing, ineffective, poorly implemented or inconsistent water policies; and
• reputational risks, which stem from changes in how stakeholders view a companies’ real or perceived negative impacts on the quantity and quality of water resources, the health and well being of workers, aquatic ecosystems and communities.
WSP recently evaluated water risks for a client operating in a region with scarce water resources. The firm conducted initial screening of potential water-related risks, and then augmented these assessments with onsite evaluations. WSP also surveyed site personnel and researched local legislative, infrastructure and water basin conditions.