United Kingdom

Water Scarcity 

Global demand for freshwater will exceed supply by 40 percent by 2030, according to the Water Resources Group, with potentially calamitous implications for business, society and the environment. When compared with the more gradual and indirect implications of climate change, water scarcity seems not only a more immediate issue, but also a more manageable one.

Like other sustainability megaforces, water scarcity brings both risks and opportunities for businesses. Diminishing water supplies can disrupt – or even curtail – business operations, power generation capacity and the supply of key business inputs. Simply put: no water, no products, no business.

Water scarcity also brings about a number of indirect impacts. Governments are already introducing regulations to manage supplies more effectively which, in turn, are creating new compliance requirements and cost increases for businesses. For example, in 2008, the Portuguese government introduced a tax on major water users in agriculture and industry. More recently, in June 2012, China announced that it will adopt high water rates for water-intensive industries and will encourage the reuse of recycled water.  And Singapore’s regulators have priced water to reflect its scarcity value.

At KPMG, we believe that companies need to demonstrate a robust response to water scarcity through their corporate reporting in order to convince investors of future growth and profitability.


10 Key Questions:

  • How fully does your organization understand its exposure to the risks of water scarcity?
  • Where do your biggest water risks lie?
  • To what extent are your investors looking at your response to water challenges?
  • Does your organization have a long-term strategy to deal with or eliminate risks associated with water scarcity?
  • What resources have been allocated to lead and maintain water strategies?
  • How much water is used within your extended supply chain?
  • Which water-related metrics are most important to your business?
  • What processes are in place to verify both internal and external water usage data?
  • What plans are in place for integrating CR or sustainability data into your organization’s overall reporting framework?
  • How is your organization communicating its water strategy to key stakeholders? 



Water scarcity



    • Assess the materiality of water use to the business
    • Quantify water inputs and outputs (operations and supply chain) and identify data gaps
    • Map water risk hot spots
    • Benchmark against competitors and suppliers



    • Prepare water accounts
    • Quantify embedded water in products and services (LCA)



    • Prepare water resource management plans
    • Develop targets and KPIs linked to business value drivers
    • Prepare roadmap and implementation support



    • Support reporting and disclosure
    • Develop the business case for water initiatives/projects
    • Map and engage stakeholders
    • Project manage
    • Perform transaction services in relation to water impacts in acquisitions and mergers



    • Conduct compliance audits
    • Provide independent assurance on reporting
    • Evaluate projects and initiatives
    • Assess the maturity of water programs 




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Contact Us

Dr Stephanie Hime

Dr Stephanie Hime

Lead Natural Capital and Water Specialist

KPMG in the UK

020 7311 3826

Email Stephanie