This discussion piece – released in 2014 – explores the notion of “sufficiency” as it pertains to water stewardship and collective action. By understanding the size and nature of the gap between desired conditions in a watershed (i.e., what might be considered “sufficient” to promote community and ecological well-being) and current conditions, companies can determine how much and what type of action is needed.
Sufficiency relates to the state at which existing water conditions and uses are consistent with a water community’s needs, values, and desires, including protection of natural ecosystems. When a difference exists between a water community’s needs and desires and the existing water resource conditions, water stewardship activities can be designed to close this gap (Figure 2). By measuring progress toward closing this gap, the water community can continually evaluate whether their collective stewardship actions are moving toward sufficiency.
We introduce application of “sufficiency” to local watersheds and aquifers for three important reasons:
- Few water stress issues can be resolved without addressing their manifestation in local water communities and with the water resources those communities depend upon
- Corporate exposure to water risks often emanates from localized impacts, e.g., lack of water for a particular business unit, inability to access agricultural supply-chain products from a particular growing region, or community protests over water pollution in their local river
- It is usually at the local level that companies can best contribute to the resolution of water stress in a meaningful way.
No. Because water risks tend to emerge from individual watersheds or aquifers, it is often critical to ground water stewardship strategies in those particular places. To be effective, these strategies should be based on a specific, unique assessment of water stress in each location of concern. Water stress and water risk come in many different shapes and sizes.
This discussion piece was developed in collaboration with: