Water Efficiency Toolkit Available To Companies In Water-Stressed Areas

Posted by Heidi Schwartz

Boat slips in Folsom Lake during the 1976 drought (Photo: California Department of Water Resources).
Boat slips in Folsom Lake during the 1976 drought (Photo: California Department of Water Resources).

As drought conditions persist on the West Coast and throughout the Southwest, and other areas struggle with water scarcity, the Global Environmental Management Initiative (GEMI) and Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) have announced they are teaming up to expand the adoption of a new solution tool, the EDF-GEMI Water Management Application (WaterMAPP) toolkit. The new offering builds on a previous water efficiency collaboration between EDF and AT&T.

GEMI Chair, Lori Williams, Business Strategy Advisor, FedEx Corporation stated “For the past several years, GEMI and EDF have partnered on various projects aimed at helping companies achieve substantial environmental sustainability and business results, including the development of the ‘GEMI-EDF Guide to Successful Corporate-NGO Partnerships’ in 2008. Water sustainability is one of GEMI’s primary focus areas, so it is a natural fit for us to collaborate on the expansion of the WaterMAPP toolkit.”

Chair of GEMI’s Water Work Group and GEMI’s Vice Chair, Steve Shedroff, Section Head, Beauty Care, Global Innovation, Health, Safety, & Environment, Procter and Gamble, explained, “The EDF-GEMI WaterMAPP is a MS Excel-based, multi-tabbed spreadsheet with two primary components: the Water Scorecard (to assess the water efficiency for buildings and create visibility for water use performance at facilities), and the Water Efficiency Calculator (to estimate water and financial savings from cooling tower or free-air cooling improvements—key data for making the water-efficiency investment business case).”

In 2012, EDF and AT&T launched a pilot project which found that many buildings have an opportunity to reduce water use in their cooling towers. Based on the results of the pilot, the initial WaterMAPP tools and resources were developed to help AT&T and other organizations reduce their water and related energy and chemical use.

Practices highlighted in the toolkit have the potential to save 28 billion gallons annually if deployed across all U.S. buildings. Seeing an opportunity to scale, GEMI and EDF collaborated on the redesign, hosting and co-promotion of the EDF-GEMI WaterMAPP as a joint effort to help organizations reduce water and energy use in buildings.

“As persistent drought conditions become the new normal in many areas of the country, organizations are looking for ways to cut their water use. This Toolkit can help buildings use less water and energy—and save money in the process,” said Tom Murray, Vice President of Corporate Partnerships at EDF.

GEMI members include: 3M; Ashland Inc.; Biogen Idec; BNSF Railway Company; Carnival Corporation & plc; ConAgra Foods; ConocoPhillips; Eni spa; FedEx; Halliburton; Koch Industries; Kraft Foods Inc.; Merck & Company, Inc.; Occidental Petroleum Corporation; Perdue Farms Inc.; Phillips 66; The Procter & Gamble Company; Sealed Air Corporation; Smithfield Foods, Inc.; Southern Company; Tennant Company; Union Pacific Railroad; and WW Grainger.

The EDF-GEMI WaterMAPP Toolkit and supporting resources may be found at the following link: http://www.gemi.org/EDFGEMIwaterMAPP