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The world is facing significant droughts – make sure your company is resilient

As we discussed throughout our blog series on corporate water efficiency policies, the World Economic Forum’s 2020 Global Risk Report puts water crises among the top five greatest risks society will face over the next 10 years. Climate change has directly contributed to the depletion of the world’s water supply, as well as land areas experiencing abnormally dry conditions – otherwise known as droughts.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, over the last 20 years approximately 20 to 70 percent of areas in the United States experienced drier conditions and drought. The decreased precipitation directly results in serious water shortages. This also extends to other regions of the world, like southern Europe and West Africa, which have had a steady increase in the number and intensity of droughts since the 1950s.

The Center for Climate Change and Energy Solutions (C2ES) suggests that relatively dry places will continue to become drier due to global warming over the course of the foreseeable future.

But what does this mean for your company?

The same report explains that severe drought can have a significant impact on the following, all of which can hinder your ability to do business:

  1. Agriculture: Livestock and crops are impacted by droughts, resulting in food insecurity and increased food prices, social unrest, migration and famine.
  2. Transportation: River levels are threatened by droughts which can lead to barges not being able to travel and roadways being damaged.
  3. Wildfires: Catastrophic wildfires have steadily increased in recent years affecting businesses and homes in forest areas where moisture levels are depleted.
  4. Energy:  Energy shortages can occur when droughts strike because electricity requires water to cool and be produced.

How can your business become more resilient to droughts?

If your facility is in an area that is susceptible to drought, it’s time to think about how you can prepare and become resilient to the negative impacts. That said, many of the solutions are very similar to incorporating water efficiency plans into your corporate sustainability plan. There are many steps you can take to ensure you are resilient to droughts, start by considering the following:

  1. Update your facilities to include green infrastructure
  2. Explore city incentives for rainwater harvesting
  3. Utilize groundwater and stormwater
  4. Plant and source drought-resistant crops
  5. Plant drought-resistant landscaping
  6. Prepare an emergency plan for when a drought strikes

Also, check out our series on incorporating water efficiency policies for updating or establishing corporate sustainability goals. Read parts one, two, three, four, five and six. The following resources provide even more ideas for making your company more resilient to drought:

  1. C2ES: Resilience Strategies for Drought
  2. EPA: Green Infrastructure – Build Resiliency to Drought

As an ISO 14001 certified and TL 9000 compliant business, we are here to help. Give us a call at (415) 351-2227 if you want to discuss ways to make your business more resilient to drought.


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