December 10, 2014--What to do when climate change poses a risk to your water supply (Guardian)

As evidence of climate change mounts, businesses across all sectors of the economy are developing strategies for identifying and avoiding the risks it poses. Given the important role of freshwater in powering economic development and growth, and the vulnerability of our water resources, efforts have focused on the links between climate change, water and the corporate sector. For businesses, risk assessment has always been an important part of planning and operations. The failure to honestly and comprehensively assess risk can undermine production and profitability. Extensive work has been carried out to try to evaluate water-related risks to businesses by organisations such as the Pacific Institute’s Corporate Sustainability Program, the UN CEO Water Mandate, Ceres, BSR, and others. In the past such work focused on water scarcity, the impact of extreme events such as droughts and floods, and the threat of contamination. More recently, an emphasis on how climate change will contribute to these risks has been added. A critical driver of success in the 21st-century economy will be how companies and investors balance the competing demands for water and other resources in a changing climate. The best scientific assessments on climate threats to water resources – including those from the the IPCC and the US National Academy of Sciences – suggest rising temperatures could pose the biggest risk. As demands for water by agriculture and ecosystems increase, water quality in lakes worsens and the loss of snow and ice to mountain regions speeds up.

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