Monday, August 31, 2015

Water Management is Big Business: Carrots and Sticks

A wide range of companies are responding to the growing demand for responsible water stewardship.  This includes products like software, printing, and decontamination. There are also powerful disincentives that encourage responsible water manage water management.

The number of companies that see the importance of responsible water stewardship has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years. This is due to both opportunities and threats. Those who engage responsible water stewardship stand to benefit from cost savings while those who do not get on board are vulnerable to a wide range of risks. These risks include penalties for failure to comply with their legal responsibilities.

Responsible corporate water efforts run the gamut from sustainable water programs to innovations that diminish water use. Here are some examples of products designed to better manage water and a couple of examples of what can happen when companies fail to do so.

There are a number of software programs that enable companies to collate data so that they may better understand and address their water management issues. The Water Risks Monitizer is a great example of software that helps companies to manage water resources. Another water management software from Aquatic Informatics goes by the title of Aquarius WebPortal 2015.1. This software offers real-time online access to quality assured environmental data and services, including rich statistics, intuitive maps, email alerts, data exporting and live reports.

Companies are also acting to be better water stewards. Kodak has introduced something called Sonora Process Free Plates, which eliminates the need for water in the pringing process. This innovation also eliminates the chemicals and energy traditionally required by processed plates. It does this without sacrificing quality or productivity. To meet the burgeoning demand for this product (66 percent year over year) Kodak opened a new manufacturing line at their Columbus, Georgia facility on August 7, 2015. The Sonora Process Free Plates eliminates the need for processing equipment and this can save the average printer that uses 20,000 square meters of plates almost $100,000 annually. There are now more than 2,700 printers using Sonora Process Free Plates for a variety of applications.

Innovative water treatment processes are also on the rise.  One such process employs an advanced oxidation process (AOP) using TiO2 catalyst and UV light. The process treats water to remove organic and chemical contaminants. known as Keratox, this water decontamination process was developed by atg UV Technology. This process can significantly lower costs and risks when compared to traditional approaches that use ozone and hydrogen peroxide.

There have been numerous examples of companies who pay a penalty for failing to safely address water risks. Earlier this year Arch Coal, one of the largest coal companies in the US, and 14 of its subsidiaries where forced to pay a $2 million civil penalty and conduct comprehensive upgrades to their operations to ensure compliance with the Clean Water Act. The settlement was attributable to the illegal discharge of pollutants.

Pan Am Railways has also been forced to pay penalties for violating the Clean Water Act. The company has agreed to pay a fine of $152,000 to resolve the violations. These fines were levied due to the company's inadequate storm water management. This includes storm water running through debris piles and oil stains. The company also agreed to undertake an Environmental Culture Assessment (ECA) and develop and implement action plans to improve the current environmental culture.

Whether to reap financial benefits or to avoid penalties the business of water management is is a large and growing concern.

A Condensed History of Responsible Water Stewardship
Performance Contracting Offers Water and Energy Savings
Expanded Water Tool Reveals the Actual and Future Water Risks
Free Sustainable Water Management Software for Universities
Responsible Corporate Water Leadership: Beer and Jeans
The 2014 World Water Development Report (fifth edition): Water and Energy
Recycling or Reclaiming Water: A Sustainable Solution for Industry
Water Stewardship Steps: Developing a Water Strategy
Solutions to Diminishing Ground Water
Reducing Water Use in the United States
110 Water Conservation Tips for Businesses and Homes
Water Efficiency: Stopping the Flow from Leaky Pipes
The Carbon Trust's Water Standard
WBCSD Report: Building the Business case for Water Valuation

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