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Applying Water Stewardship Tools in the Great Lakes Basin

Year Awarded: 2012
Awarded: $449,000
Team Leader:  Council of Great Lakes Industries
Tel: 734-663-1944
Email: kabuckner@cgli.org

This team examined and tested a series of water stewardship tools, and analyzed how well these tools—originally developed and tested for water scarce regions—adapted to large water bodies, addressed the special concerns of water rich regions, and were compatible with the needs of Great Lakes industries.

The team selected five tools—Water Footprint Network methodology; Global Water Tool; Carbon Disclosure Project Water Disclosure Project; Global Reporting Initiative; and the European Water Stewardship (draft) Standard—for testing in pilot studies in the Great Lakes region. The team also worked closely with the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) to review and pilot their draft International Water Stewardship Standard (Standard) which had been released at the time the grant was awarded in late 2012.

Through their pilots the team found there to be significant value in using water stewardship tools to advance water sustainability in the region. They found the AWS Standard to be a useful and relevant water stewardship tool for this region, one that offered the greatest flexibility needed by industry working in a water rich region with a high level of governance. Through their pilots, the team was able to make substantial contributions to, and influence the development of, the final AWS Standard.

This work was the “first of its kind” for several reasons. The team was the first to look at how well these tools functioned in a water rich region such as the Great Lakes. They were also the first to pilot multiple water stewardship tools at the same facilities. The work generated a lot of interest from a large and diverse audience including Great Lakes stakeholders, as well as tool users and developers in other parts of the world. Their work contributed to the global discussion on the applicability of water stewardship tools.

Team members presented the project at World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden in 2013 among many other venues and outlets. All products, including a video produced by Detroit Public Television, can be found on the project website at http://cgli.org/projects-2/industrial-water-stewardship/.