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Water Positive: What does it mean?

With many corporations joining the ‘water positive’ movement, we take a look at what water positivity is all about.

What is water positivity?

Water positive actions involve more than just being economical with our water usage. Water positivity goes beyond saving water; it is about recognising potential areas at risk of water scarcity. It is the responsibility of major corporations to identify issues and find solutions to offset the water they are using and relieve the negative impacts.

The likes of PepsiCo, Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, Facebook and Google have taken a hard look at the sustainability of their manufacturing processes. These mega corporations are aiming to replenish more water than they use by 2030. By setting ‘water positive’ commitments, pressure is taken off areas where the river basins are running dry from overuse.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is switching to recycled or rainwater for use in cooling systems in 20 of its data centres. AWS is on its way to becoming more water positive through setting up replenishment projects, supplying local communities with water for crop irrigation. Similarly, Google has implemented sustainable water management practices in its cooling systems and uses seawater at one data centre in Finland.

Why 2030?

The UN has predicted that by 2030, we will experience a 40% shortage of freshwater resources. Alongside an ever increasing global population and expansion of urban areas there are also rising water demands from industry. Long periods of water mistreatment and contamination of natural water sources have resulted in this impending water scarcity situation.

To avoid running natural water resources into the ground, it is estimated that the current rate of progress needs to be quadrupled. Current actions to support and repair aquatic ecosystems, such as wetlands, rivers, and lakes are helping to further the water positive movement and reach targets by 2030.

water positive

The good news is that major corporations are finally taking responsibility for their water usage and considering their negative effect on the environment. Water positive measures also include the improvement of water quality by minimizing water pollution and increasing the treatment, recycling and safe reuse of wastewater. Through water positivity, communities across the world can enjoy clean and safe water and continue to do so for generations to come.