World Water Day 2019: Leaving no one behind

Published: 22 March 2019

Deltares and Kimberly-Clark announced the public release of the web-based WaterLOUPE tool on World Water Day 2019. WaterLOUPE is an innovative tool that helps actors and stakeholders in a watershed to understand and manage freshwater resources. The WaterLOUPE Water Scarcity Dashboard allows users to input local water data and to combine them with global hydrology data, including exposure and vulnerability data. The result is a risk assessment at a micro-level and for specific stakeholders like industry, households, and large as well as small farms.

The analytical scenario tool was developed by Deltares and piloted by Kimberly-Clark in 2017. The aim was to study water risks in river basins in Colombia where Kimberly Clark’s tissue mills are located. Given the positive results of that study – such as inclusion of all actors and a more balanced water distribution in the watershed – it was decided to proceed with the development of a more accessible, web-based, version of the WaterLOUPE tool.

This web-based version was deployed in the Western Cape province of South Africa in February 2019. The tool, which can be tailored to any specific catchment, can be used by manufacturing facilities, governments and NGOs, as well as farmers and other businesses, to support the development of local plans for water stewardship in order to fulfil Sustainable Development Goal 6, clean water for everyone.

“It is crucial that we focus on the whole watershed with all local stakeholders” – Vetri Dhagumudi, Kimberly-Clark

“The theme for this year’s World Water Day is Leaving No One Behind,” said Vetri Dhagumudi, Global Water Programme Leader for Kimberly-Clark. “When we launched our programme, the goal was to reduce our water usage to a sustainable level. But we quickly realised that we couldn’t just focus on our own facilities. It is crucial that we focus on the whole watershed and work with local stakeholders to understand the ultimate water risk. That way, no one gets left behind.”

Kimberly-Clark also released an online documentary today. The documentary, in which Deltares participated, describes how the WaterLOUPE tool was introduced to more than thirty community and government leaders in the Western Cape. Like many other places around the globe, the Western Cape has had severe freshwater shortages in recent years. Cape Town made headlines in early 2018 as the world’s first metropolis to come within days of “Day Zero,” the point at which drinking water supplies run out.

“The first phase of the workshop in the Western Cape provided specific local data based on experiences in the catchment which enriched the scientifically proven WaterLOUPE tool. This empowered community leaders because their voices were heard and now they oversee the water scarcity risks of the entire watershed over a thirty-year period,” said Dimmie Hendriks, Senior Drought Expert at Deltares.

“We had to save our way out of a drought” – Christine Colvin, WWF South Africa

“Everyone in this area is pretty much dependent on the Western Cape water supply system,” Christine Colvin, Freshwater Senior Manager, WWF South Africa, commented during the WaterLOUPE water scarcity workshop. “We realised that we could not rely on new sources of water coming within that short time horizon. We had to save our way out of a drought. Bringing different stakeholders to the table helps us to unpack different perspectives of water risk that are present in that system and look for sustainable solutions for now and generations to come.”

Kimberly-Clark plans to implement WaterLOUPE in the twelve water-stressed regions around the world where it operates. The tool is currently being applied in Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Peru, and South Africa.

To view the documentary on the workshop in Cape Town released today HERE