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In 2013, Boyan Slat began to question the large volumes of plastic accumulating in our oceans and why no one was doing anything to clean it up. At 16 years old, he began research into potential solutions to effectively recover and remove it

The smart approach to water risk management

GCX's Bernard Jacobs talks about what water risk means for a company's entire value chain

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After being in and around the international water industry for the past 15 years I believe I can confidently say that there are certainly more than enough water treatment solutions available to treat any type of water problem.

What I have also noticed is that most people who implement a solution are doing so because they have to. It is often that companies are driven by compelling water related events (reactive) rather than consider the big picture (proactive). This inevitably leads to a desperate and urgent search for immediate solutions to alleviate and mitigate risks they face.

Have you found yourself in such a position? And if so where do you start?

All you know is that whatever it is that you need will mostly likely cost you a lot of money.

You know what? You’re right!

Well, what alternatives do you have? What will be the consequence of not installing a solution? These are probably questions you will consider.

Let me tell you, you are not the only one facing this situation right now. What is positive is that, as a result of the many companies increasingly finding themselves in this position, the methodology in reaching your final decision as to what treatment solution (if any) will provide the best fit for you has been greatly developed.

The methodology is simple. Firstly, fully understand your relationship with water throughout your value chain. Know where it comes from. How it is used in your organization. Where and how it is discharged. Basically this will cover all the water aspects within the boundaries of your company.

Over and above this, you need to get an understanding of any water risks you could face simply by assessing your location. I know, you are probably already thinking that this approach is a bit excessive but have you ever stopped to consider what happens if your water supply simply stops or becomes contaminated.

Secondly, you need to assess the risks that have been identified from the information gained above and establish whether any of these “so-called” risks will have an impact on your business. It could be possible that none of the risks pose any real threat to your organisation. However, that unfortunately is not normally the case.

Most companies that have embarked on this assessment of their company’s water, have at this stage, a clear understanding of the exposed water risk within their organisation. Another positive to be gained from this is that you now know what water risks you need to address and what the impact will be if you do not.

Why stop there? Now that you know what your risks are, why not understand if there are any opportunities that can be gained through addressing your water risks? This process will ultimately reveal what the best solution for your specific needs are.

Basically what I’m advocating, is that, if you are in the position where you need to install any water related initiative, make sure you fully understand your complete relationship with water before you make a decision on what to choose. Think about it like buying a house, a car or any other major asset. Would you buy any one of those items without understanding what you are buying?

Each Company has a different relationship with water throughout its value chain – from production inputs, raw materials and suppliers to ultimate service or product use and disposition.  Depending on what type of company you are and what you do will determine how long this evaluation could take. Generally this is a pretty quick and inexpensive process.

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