Water Risk Assessments

Water risk assessments quantify how much a business depends on and impacts freshwater resources, including its site water balance and the local watersheds where its facilities operate. The assessment includes an analysis of physical risk drivers – such as water scarcity, flooding and water quality – and reputational or regulatory risks that may impact a company’s business. It also evaluates an enterprise’s water footprint and the overall water management practices of its supply chains.

Among the many factors that influence the risk of pipe failure, it is important to consider water pressure. Excessive pressure can damage the outer surface of the pipe and corrode its interior. Insufficient pressure can lead to poor service for points of consumption and even water loss. Another factor is the speed of flow, which determines whether the flow reaches the point of consumption at a given moment. Too slow a flow can result in water stagnation, while too fast a flow can cause excessive vibration and break the pipes.

The Importance of Regular Water Risk Assessments for Public Health

Most enterprises that are highly dependent on water for their critical processes regularly assess their water risk. Depending on the location of the business, the scope of the assessment can be limited to a particular facility or the entire operation and its supply chain.

Several free, online tools can be used to evaluate water risk, such as Ecolab’s Water Risk Monetizer and the WRI Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas or WWF’s Water Risk Filter. Other, more in-depth assessments can include a site-specific review and GIS spatial analysis. In the case of water distribution networks, several studies such as Boryczko et al. [46] or Raspati et al. [47] have developed methods to rank and categorize pipes based on their RFS value, allowing them to be prioritized for repair or rehabilitation.


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