Fresh water is critical to people’s health, for drinking, cooking and sanitation. Further, by over-harvesting water, or taking too much water from one source and returning it to another, a company may undermine the balance, quality, and availability of water that flora and fauna rely upon, resulting in the degradation of ecosystems.
Companies must ensure that their water use in no way undermines the availability of water for people and ecosystems that depend on the watershed from which the water is withdrawn. Water use is a complex issue. Impacts vary at a local catchment level, depend on where water is withdrawn from (e.g. aquifers, rivers) and returned to, and can also arise from changes in water quality (e.g. by introducing or removing impurities).
This goal focuses on localised impacts stemming from water withdrawal. Water quality issues are covered by the goal Operational emissions do not harm people or the environment.