In a recent interview, William Sarni, director and enterprise water strategy leader at Deloitte Consulting LLP, identifies business risks related to water demand. Sarni notes that the demand for water is rapidly outpacing supply in many regions, a situation driven by economic growth, urbanization, rising populations, and expansion of the middle class. These trends, coupled with droughts and other weather events, are evidently forcing businesses to compete for water.

According to Sarni, business risks associated with water generally fall into three categories: (i) operational—not having enough clean, affordable water, (ii) regulatory—how current and future laws and regulations affect the availability and price of water, and (iii) reputational—the positive and negative brand impact that stems from how a business uses and manages water. The report recommends that businesses expect the unexpected where water availability and cost are concerned, scrutinize risk across the entire supply chain and strive for transparency by disclosing risks and challenges.