Water Stewardship News from TreeZero

Texas A&M researchers look to modernize drought detection

Just as warning systems for tornadoes and earthquakes have evolved over the years, Texas A&M research assistant professor Brent McRoberts said he and colleague John Nielsen-Gammon are working to develop a more advanced system for drought detection. McRoberts said while the project — titled “Improving the Drought Monitoring Capabilities of Land Surface Models by Integrating Bias-Corrected, Gridded Precipitation Estimates” — is in the experimental stage, the “ultimate hope” is to see it put to use by federal agencies such as the National Weather Service and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration. McRoberts, who teaches in the department of geography, said the models could give a better indication of moisture levels at or below the surface of the ground — levels that when properly monitored could provide advanced warning for drought. “This is our best attempt to estimate the top two meters of the soil inside of a computer,” McRoberts said. “… The main idea is that it can be used as part of a drought early-warning system. With things like tornadoes, we’re always trying to improve our lead time, improving from five minutes to 10 minutes to hopefully a half hour. It’s sort of the same thing with drought, just on a different timescale.” http://www.theeagle.com/news/local/texas-a-m-researchers-look-to-modernize-drought-detection/article_2d5091a1-92bc-527b-91db-56183debccc3.html

Why Colgate and Nestle are setting an internal price on water

by Cate Lamb
A report from CDP this month, “A Turning Tide: tracking corporate action on water security (PDF)”, analyzes the water management of 742 of the world’s largest companies, including Nestle, Burberry and Kellogg’s, and finds that companies are increasingly improving their water processes and using innovative new tools to do so. Saving water and reducing costs. Encouragingly, the number of companies qualifying for the “Water A List” this year by having best practice policies on water management in place has tripled and includes household names such as L’Oreal and Toyota. The number of companies responding to calls from investors to disclose their water management is steadily increasing as well. In just one year, the number of companies disclosing through CDP has jumped 40 percent. Results from a recent State Street survey (PDF) of 475 global asset owners indicate that 80 percent of these global institutions have an ESG component in their investment strategies that are generating significantly improved returns. Clearly, the demand for water data won’t disappear. 53 companies (7 percent of our sample), including multinationals such as Colgate Palmolive and Nestle, have established an internal price on water that takes into account the social and environmental costs of water — a significant development. For example, beverage giant Diageo uses an internal total cost of water tool, which estimates the full cost of water to a given plant. This estimate allows the plant to anticipate and plan for the financial impact of price or tariff increases, and supports Diageo’s overall goal to improve water use efficiency by 50 percent by 2020. Meanwhile, by applying a tool developed by Rutgers University, Colgate Palmolive has found that its average “true” cost of water is 2.5 times more than the purchase cost. Evidently, accounting for the real price of water can help companies hedge against risk and supply chain disruption as the price of water inevitably rises. https://www.greenbiz.com/article/why-colgate-and-nestle-are-setting-internal-price-water.