The Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) North America have announced Google achieved AWS certification at its Mountain View, Calif., Los Angeles, Calif., and Dublin, Ireland campuses under the AWS Standard. Earning AWS certification for commercial office space demonstrates Google’s commitment to understanding the complex issues and opportunities within the watersheds it operates and to work with local stakeholders to achieve the five outcomes of water stewardship to include: sustainable water balance, good water quality, good water governance, the healthy status of important water-related areas (rivers, marshes, etc.), and safe water access, sanitation and hygiene for everyone (WASH).
“A majority of companies recognize that sustainability is important but going from ‘knowing’ to ‘doing’ takes both strategy and dedication,” said Matt Howard, director at the Alliance for Water Stewardship North America. “Google has not only signaled its commitment to water stewardship as a member of AWS, but also by starting its water stewardship journey and being the first major tech company to achieve AWS certification for its office operations.”
At the heart of any stewardship initiative is understanding how to identify and mitigate risks while also addressing shared challenges and opportunities that arise from a site’s use of resources. Many of the systems that supply, distribute and treat our water are based on centuries-old technology and assumptions that may no longer be valid in our ever-changing world. The internationally recognized AWS Standard meets that need by enabling companies of any size, and in any industry, to learn about the state of water in its location, engage with key stakeholders, and create customized strategic plans that address internal and external water-related risks unique to its operations and watershed.
“Water is local with each site facing its own unique risks and challenges,” said Eddie Corwin, sustainability manager for Google’s real estate. “The Alliance for Water Stewardship certification provided the framework for aligning our existing water efficiency efforts with the ambitious water stewardship outcomes. The AWS certification helped initiate the internal and external conversations necessary for embarking on our water stewardship journey.”
Key partners and tools, such as LimnoTech, WWFs Water Risk Filter and WRI’s Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas, enabled Google to rank and prioritize sites based on its water risk. A few ways a site can begin to address water stewardship challenges include creating an on-site water stewardship team, using efficient fixtures, managing stormwater runoff, and collecting air-conditioning condensate and rainwater for irrigation.