July 2009 Online Update
Research for People and the Planet  
In This Issue
-Public Comment
-Water Accounting Report
-Water-scarcity Business Risks
-Community Health Report

-In Brief

Water by Numbers
Check out the latest posts on Water by Numbers, Peter Gleick’s blog, featured on San Francisco Chronicle’s City Brights.Bottled water labels: no salt, no fat, no cholesterol, and no useful information

Wake up: Here is what a real water crisis looks like

Truth drought: California’s real shortfall


Public Invited to Comment on Business Engagement in Water-Related Public Policy
First Comment Period Open Until July 31

The CEO Water Mandate logoThe Pacific Institute, as a member of The CEO Water Mandate Secretariat, invites the public to comment on a preliminary outline for a best-practice guide on corporate engagement in water-related public policy.

The guide ultimately aims to provide principles, concepts, practical steps, and case examples that can facilitate companies’ responsible engagement with water policy in a manner that reduces business risks while advancing policy goals and positively impacting nearby communities and ecosystems. In doing this, the guide will:

  1. Define and explore components of public water policy and the way businesses interface with them;
  2. Discuss the types of water-related business risks and the way they can be mitigated through policy engagement, while considering the various hydrologic, economic, and political contexts in which businesses operate;
  3. Elucidate the various spheres of engagement, operational dimensions, and entry points for engagement in water policy; and
  4. Identify principles and good practices/approaches while highlighting potential pitfalls to avoid.

The guide will acknowledge and address key concerns and reservations among some stakeholders regarding corporate involvement with policy decisions, steering companies toward engagement strategies and practices that are integrated, inclusive, and equitable.

The UN Global Compact Office invites the public, stakeholders, and other interested parties to provide input at this initial stage in the guide’s development, and asks the comments be submitted to by July, 31 2009. The purpose of this initial comment period is to help define the scope of the guide and to focus its content using input from a range of interested stakeholders.

This guide is a project of The CEO Water Mandate–an initiative established in 2007 under the auspices of the UN Global Compact–to better understand and advance water stewardship in the private sector.

To read the annotated outline and learn more about how to make a comment, click here.

Pacific Institute Undertakes Project on Current State of Water Accounting Methods
Report to be Released in December 2009

The Pacific Institute, in its capacity as member of The CEO Water Mandate Secretariat, is spearheading a project to map the current state of water accounting methodologies and supporting tools.

The growth of water accounting methodologies has led to confusion among potential users and other stakeholders around what tools are available, what purposes they serve, and how they can be understood in relation to one another.  This project aims to clarify this complicated landscape of methods in order to make water accounting more comprehensive, effective, and harmonized.  The specific objectives of the study are to:

  1. Elucidate commonalities and differences among emerging methods and practice;
  2. Identify gaps and challenges in current methods and tools;
  3. Determine where water accounting methods might benefit from harmonization and increased field testing

UNEP logoThis research will emphasize thorough and inclusive data collection and analysis, during which key stakeholders will be proactively engaged. This research is one of three upcoming CEO Water Mandate projects undertaken with support from the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). The final analysis will be published as a CEO Water Mandate-UNEP report in December 2009.

For more information on The CEO Water Mandate, click here.

Report looks at the Growing Risks for Businesses and Investors of Water Scarcity and Climate Change
Plan Lacks Concrete Actions to Protect Health

A new report, Climate Change and the Global Water Crisis: What Businesses Need to Know and Do, explores the linkages between climate change and water from both the scientific and corporate management perspectives.

Released by the Pacific Institute and the UN Global Compact as part of The CEO Water Mandate, the whitepaper covers a number of critical areas, including:

  • How climate change is expected to impact water scarcity, water quality, and water demand;
  • The ways in which water and energy are interconnected, including trade-off scenarios;
  • The business risks of water and climate change;
  • How businesses can strategically manage water-climate risks; and
  • The linkages between climate and water and the UN Millennium Development Goals.

To read the report, click here.

Report on Environmental Health Problems in West Contra Costa County Used for Action

Youth to Testify to City Officials on State of Youth Programs

MWM Report CoverReleased last month, the report, Measuring What Matters: Neighborhood Research for Economic and Environmental Health and Justice in Richmond, North Richmond, and San Pablo, is being used to bring positive change to longtime problems plaguing these local communities.

On July 2, Program Director Swati Prakash and Research Associate Eli Moore presented the indicator project report findings to the Contra Costa County Public and Environmental Health Advisory Board.

On July 14, the Pacific Institute, along with the Contra Costa Interfaith Supporting Community Organization, and the RYSE youth center will host a community forum for youth, program providers, and city officials to hear youth testimonies and review the Indicators Project research and recommendations on access to quality youth programs. To read about the state of youth programs in West Contra Costa County, click here.

To read the Measuring What Matters report, which quantifies how avoidable problems have become chronic and offers solutions for a better, more equitable way of life in West County, click here.

In Brief

Palaniappan To Present On “Humanity’s Greatest Challenges”
Palaniappan Tonight at 7p.m. PDT near Mountain View, California, Pacific Institute Initiative Director Meena Palaniappan will participate in “Humanity’s Grandest Challenges”–a panel discussion featuring some of the world’s leading experts in public health, climate change, energy. Palaniappan will discuss some of the challenges and solutions to bringing clean, safe drinking water to local communities around the world in a sustainable way. To attend this free public panel discussion or for more information, click here.

Gleick: Water Managers Need To Do More to Prepare for Climate Change
“We’re running out of time,” Peter Gleick cautioned attendees at the American Water Works Association annual conference on June 15 in San Diego. During the keynote address, Gleick discussed the impacts climate change will have on water, with a specific call to water managers to do more to prepare for inevitable changes. To read more, click here.


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