In 2009 we were invited by Progressio, a UK international development charity to lead a piece of research to explore the impacts of the UK’s water footprint through the example of asparagus grown in Peru. This groundbreaking work traces the rapid decline of groundwater levels and heightened social conflict in one of the poorest and driest parts of Peru to virtual water consumption in developing countries.
Leading an international team to review global evidence in order to derive policy insights and recommendations relating to ‘the factors which determine the performance of water resources management institutions in delivering pro-poor outcomes; supporting sustainable growth and minimizing the impacts of floods and droughts.
62 per cent of the UK’s water footprint is sourced overseas through embedded virtual water: the water footprint of our food, clothes, and other consumables. Where production takes place in water scarce regions with weak regulatory systems governing water use, developed world consumption can have severe negative impacts on people in developing countries and the environment through imposing pollution, unsustainable use and water conflict.
As water problems increasingly impact on all parts of society, multi-stakeholder partnerships hold potential as an approach to tackling shared water challenges. Businesses which recognise water risks are taking steps to mitigate them by partnering with public institutions, civil society organisations, and other water users. As with any new approach, as well as providing opportunities, WSPs pose some risks.
Based on our experience of water management in developing countries we are working with the Pacific Institute and WWF International to produce guidance for companies who wish to support improved water policy to address shared risks around water.
In November 2010, WWI were invited to submit written evidence to the Audit Committee’s inquiry into ‘The impact of UK overseas aid on environmental protection and climate change adaptation and mitigation’.
Fair Water Futures is a new two and a half year project to support equitable and effective water resource management (WRM) in Tanzania. Funded by UK Aid’s Global Poverty Action Fund the project attempts an innovative approach of using social accountability and citizen agency to increase demand for good water resource governance, and to guide and drive better performance for the benefit of everyone in Tanzania.
On the 9th May 2014, Water Witness International and the University of East Anglia’s Water Security Research Centre launched the Corporate Water Research Network.
In January 2014, Water Witness International designed, facilitated and documented a meeting of global experts on behalf of IUCN and RAMSAR to advise Danone Waters on the adequacy of company policy and practice on sustainable water use. Danone Waters is one of the world’s largest food and drink corporations with 87 facilities in 12 countries.
In October 2012 WWI edited and published a special issue of the journal Water Alternatives which focused on corporate engagement in water policy.
This special issue seeks to explore the opportunities and hazards brought by growing private sector interest in water policy and the array of new tools for water management which accompanies it.
Water Witness International is a board member of the Alliance for Water Stewardship, an international collaborative effort to establish a third party standard for water stewardship by large private sector water users. We are leading the piloting and development of the standard in Africa.
In 2009 we partnered with WaterAid, Daraja, Tawasnet and Shahidi wa Maji to pioneer social accountability monitoring in water resource management.
Through participatory research with communities across Tanzania we identified who was winning and who was losing from water resource management performance.