Factoring in issues such as water scarcity, hazards, and the exposure and vulnerability of different water users, the dashboard and approach helps stakeholders in understanding who is most at risk and supports decisionmakers to choose adaptation strategies that benefit the users most at risk. As a result, manufacturers are better placed to tackle challenges in the water basins where they operate. Collective actions are stimulated, and local communities and economies benefit from the measures taken.
Kimberly-Clark is proud to support Deltares and the WaterLOUPE project. This work is critically important to mitigate water risk to enable global communities to thrive.
Robin Urquhart, Water & Wastewater Treatment Program Specialist at Kimberly-Clark
Several cases have already been successfully completed, including in Cape Town (South Africa), Sao Paolo (Brazil), and Cali (Colombia). The tool is being used in an increasing number of places around the world, with recent projects concluding in Lima (Peru), Johannesburg (South Africa), and Chennai (India).
The Rimac, Chillón, and Lurin river basins in the province of Lima are home to 30% of Peru’s total population. The region has an arid climate and water availability is disproportionately distributed in relation to water demand, posing an additional challenge to satisfy the water demand in the most populated areas. The
The WaterLOUPE tool showed that the sub-basins of the Lurin basin are exposed to the highest risk due to the high vulnerability of the population, and to a persistent and severe water gap. This risk will be exacerbated by rapid population growth, and therefore water demand, and by high rates of poverty. These problems can be addressed by focusing on reducing the water demand and the vulnerability of the population in the sub-basins with the highest risk. Additionally, water allocation rules between sectors and sub-basins are key to reduce the risk to water scarcity in the three basins.
Johannesburg and the surrounding municipalities of the Gauteng province are an important economic region for South Africa and for Southern Africa, responsible for over 35% of the country’s GDP. The area is densely populated, and population has increased over the past decades. For water availability, Johannesburg and its surroundings depend largely on the Vaal dam and water being transported from the Lesotho Highlands.
The area faces a relatively limited yet persistent water gap. This persistence and the dependence on foreign water sources are the main cause of water scarcity affecting the city and its surroundings. Risks are heightened due to the different users’ dependence on this water.
Vulnerable populations living below the domestic poverty line in rural areas are disproportionately affected in comparison to farmers and the population living above the poverty line in urban areas. Conversely, industry and the domestic sector face higher risks in urban areas.
Water scarcity risk in Johannesburg and the surrounding area is increased by water pollution. This pollution is due to several factors, including sub-optimal sanitation management and chemical pollutants and (past) mining activities.
The WaterLOUPE tool also warns there may be regulatory and developmental risks impacting water scarcity in the future. These risks may arise from a lack of environmental compliance enforcement, geopolitical factors in the region, and lack of societal support for the National Water Act. By identifying these risk factors, decisionmakers in Johannesburg are better equipped to tackle water scarcity risks at the source.
The Chennai metropolitan area is the third most populous region in India, with a population exceeding 10 million. The region is home to a diverse range of economic activities, including manufacturing and agriculture, which are heavily dependent on water availability.
In the past, the agricultural sector has been the primary user of water, followed by urban, industrial, and rural water consumption. The piped water network coverage is limited beyond the metropolitan zone, meaning that approximately 70% of the population and most of the agricultural sector rely on groundwater wells. Private tankers provide a smaller fraction of household water and are generally a more expensive option.
In the coming decades, Chennai's water scarcity risk is expected to increase due to rising water demand across all sectors and reduced water availability resulting from climate change. Both optimistic and pessimistic scenarios indicate that there will be more frequent and prolonged water deficits, although not all socioeconomic groups will be impacted equally. The population below the poverty line is likely to face the highest risk, particularly after 2030, followed by the industrial sector and agriculture.
The first WaterLOUPE dashboard results for Chennai were presented during a workshop organised by Deltares, in partnership with the Chennai Resilience Centre and Care Earth. The main drivers and consequences of water scarcity risks were discussed with local experts stakeholders as well as what actions should be taken to address these risks.
In a drought prone, monsoon dependent city like Chennai, the Water Scarcity Actions Wayfinder is an important tool to help stakeholders better understand the Conjunctive use of surface and groundwater. The WaterLoupe Dashboard with its predictive water scenarios for water stressed areas in and around Chennai can be very useful for the Government of Tamil Nadu as the city develops its 3rd Master plan, as well as for industry and the real estate sectors.
Krishna Mohan, Chief Resilience Officer at the Chennai Resilience Centre
The Water Scarcity Actions Wayfinder
Water scarcity risks arise for different reasons in each case. The WaterLOUPE tool helps decision makers identify the reasons behind water scarcity so that focused measures can be taken to guarantee and improve water resources, both now and in the future.
The Water Scarcity Actions Wayfinder provides detailed information cards of actions and measures, including nature-based solutions, that can be taken depending on the environmental, social, economic and political situation in a specific area. The Wayfinder can be used in a multi-stakeholder setting to support the process of selecting and combining measures to either increase water supply, decrease water demand, or decrease vulnerability of water users.
The WaterLOUPE tool continues to expand; a preliminary watershed studies began in 2023 in the Karawang basin in Indonesia. A collaborative workshop with local stakeholders will take place later this year. The strength of this tool is that it looks at the water scarcity risk at the local context, and takes into account the vulnerability of different types of users.
My hope is that other companies will join our efforts in either basins already assessed or new basins and that companies and other stakeholders can take the next step in defining and implementing collective actions to mitigate risks.
Sophie Vermooten, project lead at Deltares