Attaching a Value to Water

Launched in 2017, the ‘Caring for Water - Pakistan’ by Nestlé Pakistan is a flagship initiative aimed at conserving and improving water usage.

By Pirzada Faizan | March 2022

Drip irrigation is one of the modern ways of irrigating agricultural land that prevents wastage of water through evaporation.
In Pakistan, water happens to be a mismanaged resource. In simple terms, the unavailability of water as well as its difficult access can be attributed either due to failure of the concerned institutions or the lack of water infrastructure to help store and maintain water supply through the passage of the water over long distances. In general, the usage of water is exponentially growing across the world and the limit of water services are hitting a peak in terms of sustainable delivery, especially in areas that are arid or have minimal rainfall.

The paucity of water is expected to get worse as unbridled growth and expansion of urban areas put more pressure on water resources, coupled with the changing climate which is making water shortage an increasingly pressing concern. The United Nations warns that there is shortage of water globally. Treating water as a resource that is soon diminishing, countries and regions need to urgently take decisive measures and deploy direction interventions to locally identify and tackle problems associated with water stress.

In Pakistan, more than 95% of the fresh water is used in agriculture, which is more than 15% percent of its GDP. A litany of factors such as lack of hybrid seeding, poor water management and obsolete irrigation methods in the agriculture sector are putting undue stress on water resources.

First, all stakeholders must come together to address this challenge while the corporate sector can play a very important role to address the growing mismanagement of water resources. Organizations are well-aware that water issues must be handled mutually as they pose a serious threat to the businesses in general and to the collective survival of all of us in particular.

For example, the top-notch multinational companies in the country are playing a leading role to conserve water by improving water use efficiency in direct agricultural supply chain and in their manufacturing operations, ensuring sustainable water supply to communities, and by adopting water stewardship to ensure on-site water efficiency.

When it comes to water stewardship for sustainable prosperity for all, Nestlé Pakistan is the leading example, expanding its commitment beyond its factory gates and office premises to take collective action in real world setting, in collaboration with its other partners such as the government, the communities, farmers and the civil society as well as the academia. Water has been a key focus for Nestlé, upholding a decades-long legacy of social and environmental concerns. Building on its existing strong water stewardship foundation, for instance, Nestlé launched a new commitment titled the Water Pledge in August 2021, which is water business specific.

With this groundbreaking initiative, Nestlé aims to conserve more water than what its water business uses in its operations throughout the local watersheds. Attaching a value to water, Nestlé aims to achieve this goal by taking collective action together with local communities, farmers in the value chain and experts in water resource management. Using this approach, Nestlé Pakistan has forged partnerships over the years on the issue of water conservation and its judicious use.

Launched in 2017, the ‘Caring for Water - Pakistan’ by Nestlé Pakistan is a flagship initiative aimed at bringing different partners and stakeholders together to discuss and find ways to conserve and improve water usage and tackle the mismanagement of water resources.

In terms of water conservation, its overall demand management and environmental sustainability practices across the board, it is difficult to single out the crucial role played by any business sector. In a similar vein, it is hard to separate the interests of the public and private sector from each other in this connection. The government should rise to the occasion by adopting the integrated water resources management to align water usage with the needs and demands of different users i.e., agriculture, industry, household, etc. The industry and businesses also need to play their part to avail of the opportunities associated with water conservation as well as to discern the merits of shared water management.