Preserving water resources is both a critical environmental and business priority for Kimberly-Clark. Several of our mills are located in river basins at high risk for water scarcity. To help address this challenge, Kimberly-Clark has partnered with research firm Deltares to launch WaterLoupe, an interactive, web-based tool to monitor local freshwater supplies and consumption trends and generate actionable insights to mitigate local water risks.
WaterLoupe tracks data on social, economic and climate factors impacting water availability within river basins and displays the information on a highly visual, user-friendly dashboard. The tool allows users to assess water risks for an entire watershed as well as specific sectors and sub-groups, such as industrial users, farmers and households, over a 30-year time horizon. Deltares developed the dashboard based on a study of the Aburrá and Cauca Valley catchment areas in Colombia, where Kimberly-Clark operates manufacturing facilities.
“Clean water is one of the world's most essential natural resources. It's also a key input to Kimberly-Clark's tissue-making operations, and several of our mills are located in watersheds at high risk for water scarcity,” said Vetri Dhagumudi, Water Program Leader at Kimberly-Clark. “We recognize that the communities surrounding mills experiencing water stress have important social needs as well, so engagement at the local community level will help stakeholders leverage this tool and see the factors driving water risk and explore sustainable stewardship strategies.”
In Colombia, Kimberly-Clark is employing WaterLoupe to engage government authorities, farmers and other industries in discussions regarding local water use and vulnerabilities now and in the future. Designed as an open-source tool, the WaterLoupe dashboard can be expanded to include information requested by stakeholders. “Ultimately, we hope to use this system to test the impact of different water management approaches on local water supply and consumption,” said Dhagumudi.
Kimberly-Clark plans to use the WaterLoupe tool in the high-risk river basins where it operates manufacturing facilities by 2022. In the coming months, the company and Deltares will present the dashboard to their NGO partners and other manufacturers to obtain feedback on its functionality and content and identify further improvements.
The introduction of WaterLoupe is the latest step in Kimberly-Clark's global water risk management program. In recent years, the company has:
Invested in water recycling systems which have reduced the volume of freshwater used in its manufacturing operations by nearly 35 million cubic meters between 2010 and 2016.
Conducted a water screening assessment to determine which operations are at high risk for water stress, and initiated watershed analyses and target setting for water-stressed locations.
Begun engagement of NGO partners and key stakeholders in the development of sustainable water management plans at the local level.
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