How to Leverage Water Risk Assessment to Unlock Business Opportunities

The top 10 risks ranked in the World Economic Forum’s Global Risk Report all relate to Water. If that’s not a sign that it is time to get your Water Risk Assessments right, I don’t know what is! Not convinced yet? Let’s dig further:

with 🎙️ Jennifer Möller-Gulland, Water Risk Expert and Water Economist for the World Bank and the United Nations Development Programme

💧 Jennifer is the founder of the Water Risk Assessment Blueprint Training, a 12-week online course that helps water professionals to know the Water Risks, convince decision makers to consider and address them, be part of the solution, and accelerate their career.

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Infographic: Water Risk Assessment


What we covered:

3️⃣ How there are three types of Water Risks, physical, infrastructure, and governance, and how one should tackle the assessment of these risks

👨‍🏫 How water risks shall be understood at all levels, from government to companies and individuals

📈 How water risks are connected to economic development, social development and gender equality and how ignoring water risks can have long-lasting impacts on individuals and communities

🚱 How the governance risk in managing water crisis (such as Flint) is often not given the attention it deserves

😵 How the “40% water availability gap” risk given by the 2030 Water Resource Group is often misused and doesn’t consider qualitative risks such as polluted water

😅 How the UN Water Conference can be taken with a positive spin, assuming you joined with no expectations, and how the outcomes are pretty typical of this kind of multilateral behemoth

♻️ How political cycles don’t match with the infrastructure investments required for long-term sustainability and how decision-makers over-focus on making voters happy

💰 How infrastructure problems cannot always be fixed incrementally, how they may require complete overhauls and how there’s no clear plan on how to finance it

💵 How linking a water risk assessment to GDP impact can help incentivize governments to take action based on it

💪 How Jennifer created her water risk assessment training, who it caters to, and what one can expect to learn from it

✋ Positive reinforcement of Water newcomers, the human right to Water, PFAS and its potential health consequences, the fate of a consultant’s report, working for the World Bank or the UN, Water Futures, Water Markets… and much more!

🔥 … and of course, we concluded with the 𝙧𝙖𝙥𝙞𝙙 𝙛𝙞𝙧𝙚 𝙦𝙪𝙚𝙨𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣𝙨 🔥 


🔗 Check the Water Risk Blueprint Website

🔗 Get a Water Risk Crash Course

🔗 Get a FREE Masterclass on how to assess and communicate Water Risks

🔗 Send your warmest regards to Jennifer on LinkedIn or on Instagram

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is on Linkedin ➡️

Full Transcript:

These are computer-generated, so expect some typos 🙂

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Antoine Walter: Hi Jennifer. Welcome to the show.

Jennifer Möller-Gulland: Hi, Antwan. Good to be here.

Antoine Walter: you bring a fresh topic on that show, something we never covered so far. So I’m really looking forward that conversation and exploring all that’s inside this quite interesting topic, but have still traditions on that microphone and those traditions. Start with asking you to send me a postcard and you’re sending me a postcard from New York.

So what can you tell me about New York, which I would ignore by now.

Jennifer Möller-Gulland: I’m just here for the UN Water Conference, so we had great discussions meeting everybody again after a long time and looking positively towards the future.

Antoine Walter: I warned you that I would maybe disagree with you. I’ve seen your, your feedback on the UN Water Conference. Expressing how impressed you were with the outcome with the power moment where the president of the assembly pushed the button. And that is maybe the biggest disconnect I had.

Because to me that was an no awkward moment. Like one of this button you see in a quiz game on the stage of the un and like I push it and everything is gonna change. I reviewed not all of them because it’s a lot, but the commitments of this war action agenda. And I’m not that impressed about the ones which didn’t make the news yet.

So it sounds like there’s a lot of bulk, which is me, and then a couple good ones, which people would put first. But you were really in New York and you are still really in New York while I was doing all of that from my studio. So maybe I really missed the point. So did I?

Jennifer Möller-Gulland: Nothing, it’s two things to look at. Of course, it isn’t what you would want, to really move the needle forward. I mean, we always get disappointed by these big meetings because expectations are high and a lot has to be done right? So I think we, we expect to be disappointed and I went there with the expectation to be disappointed.

Which I think then my feedback afterwards is more positive than it would’ve been if I had gone there with expectation to be wowed. And I think now I’ve going to many conferences over the years, and each time they are a bit disappointing. It’s just the way it is. But I think on the same hand, we have to look at it is moving forward, right?

Like it is gaining awareness. It is, people are making commitments. It might not be the most amazing wide witching commitments, but they are moving in the right direction. And I think to promote and to encourage people making these commitments and moving forward, I think it’s good to be a bit more positive rather than bashing it and saying, you should have done this.

You should have done that. It should be committing. It should be, with a tight deadline, it should be somebody monitored by somebody. I think that would put people off. I think now many people are just putting their, toes into the water, testing the waters, and looking at where, what happens.

They would make a commitment. Can I manage, can I not, how does it work in my company? How does it fly? And giving people that space and giving them some positive encouragement. It does a lot right. But I agree it’s not word changing, but I think, you know, with the going in the right direction, encouraging people to go in the right direction and then reviewing it, of course if, see did they actually do what they promised and hold them accountable afterwards.

I mean, we don’t wanna see people promising they did something which they didn’t do right. They fully agree, but at least being supportive for those who are new in the field and are committing to something, kind of letting them play a bit. And then see what happens out of it. And and then we can always be critical afterwards again.

And then say, okay, now you played and now you have to commit to something. Which is more tangible. Which has more, which makes hold you more accountable. But just to avoid being completely depressed in the water space, we do need some kind of optimism, right? And I think that’s why my post was optimistic cuz I went, there was expectation to be disappointed.

Antoine Walter: So you are a health full glass type of person and I think you are fully right to, to watch and look at it that way. So you mentioned how these people are now new to the Waterfield and to connect to your story. That happened a while ago, but at some point you were also new to that water fields.

You’re coming from an economic background. So how do you get interested in.

Jennifer Möller-Gulland: That’s a good question. So I was studying international economics and finance with the intention, I was the fascination of why do some countries develop and others don’t, right? So I was really looking into what are the key factors which are bringing like Germany ahead of the game. If we look at, I dunno, Gambia, just to name random with G what is the difference which makes them develop and not develop?

And we were doing. Long calculations over pages with the assumption of markets are perfect, people are rational, which are all complete nonsense assumptions, right? I mean, they would never hold true. So, your calculations also based on assumptions which are very shaky, which made me quite frustrated, right?

Like, how are we gonna solve the world’s problems like that? And I went to modern United Nations conference at university and there was a person, Kevin Coe who had a presentation on his PhD topic on the human right to water. And it blew me away completely. I’m like, wow, water. That is exactly the factor underpinning everything we need that decide if we develop what doesn’t or we don’t develop.

It’s the absolutely core foundation to what has required. At the absolute minimum, right? You have to have water security before you can develop. So it really hooked me into water. And then I looked at, okay, do I really want to specialize in water? Cause I’m actually economist, maybe business but water, like what does water have to offer to really fill a career?

So I did an internship with pwc and there was you in water, and I was like, wow, it actually really is great. But I did a master’s at Oxford and Water Science Policy Management. I’m like, wow. Even after one year, it’s even more fascinating. So I stayed ever since.

Antoine Walter: would you explain? Rings a bell. To a conversation I had with Tom Rooney on that microphone where he explains that water is the base of this Maslow pyramid. It’s part of this bottom of the pyramids and how you build upon that. So that was my very muggle and layman translation of economic theory you, you’ve been working with international multilateral agencies, which are often quoted, including in one of your polls as the dream employer. Like you would dream to work for the United Nations, you would dream to work for the word bank. You’ve achieved the dream. So is it a dream and how cool is it and what did you.

Jennifer Möller-Gulland: So I always worked as a consultant. I was never staff with UN or Word Bank. I just think is a distinction. But what I have to say is these organizations, they do hold a lot of power, of course, right? So if you do work with them on the project, it opens doors. Like for the water risk assessments I was working on with the World Bank.

You knocked on the door of a government agency and they would just open the door and invite you in immediately. There wouldn’t be a long waiting time, right? So it really does open doors. For connections. On the other hand, you also realize what you don’t see from the outside is that it’s a very bureaucratic agency.

You know, it’s, the amount of things you want to do because you come in like highly motivated with a big passion. You want to change things and you realize very soon that you’ve got many roadblocks because it is such a large agency, there’s such a large organization, you’ve got many stops in between.

It’s like a government organization, right? Like very bureaucratic. You’ve got many levels of approving you need to pass. It’s slow. It’s slower than you want it to be, for sure. You can move things, but you need to bring in a lot of patience, which I think I really underestimated, right? Because you see.

World Bank, un, changing the world. And then you realize, oh, it, it might be a bit little by little and little by little. And the last thing I would say is what I didn’t realize before, which I think is interesting for people who want to work for these organizations, is that all the interesting reports we see which have been published by the World Bank, by the un, many things are done by consultants, not by people actually working in staff positions.

So if you actually work in the word bank or the UN or the staff position, I mean, mostly I would speak for the word bank, and you expect to do these very nice reports and do their detailed research and everything. You might be managing it, you might be guiding it but you wouldn’t be doing the depth of the work, right?

Like consultants will be doing that. So if you’re really interested in learning, like doing more research, engaging more, learning more about your topic of interest, you might be better off actually being a consult. Working on these projects, which I didn’t realize before. So if you work as a staff position, it’s a lot about managing your portfolio, right?

And maybe commissioning studies, which , yourself would like to work on, but you don’t have the time for. So you have to hire consultants.

Antoine Walter: We had that conversation with Gonzalo Delacamara on that microphone who shares, I guess, with you, this experience of being a consultant for these big agencies. And he was highlighting how there are 40 UN agencies with a mandate for water. How do you navigate that jungle?

Jennifer Möller-Gulland: God, I mean, I set up my internship with you and water I mean my water career. And I was extremely disappointed, let you tell you that. I mean, that’s exactly what you say. They’re all working on water and they can’t get organized. So you develop a new organization to organize or the other organizations, but then you’ve got like all the different.

Complications around it, so it doesn’t really move forward. I mean, that was a long time ago. I don’t if it changed by now, but it definitely wasn’t what I would’ve expected it to be, and it wasn’t what I think we would need nowadays to really move things forward. And by the way, I Gonzalo quite well.

We worked together in my very first job at Ecologic Institute.

Antoine Walter: That’s an interesting link.

Jennifer Möller-Gulland: Yeah.

Antoine Walter: Here’s another stretching and in maybe interesting, maybe a stretch link, which I’ll make here, which is, I’ve been in sales and in sales, usually when you have a hard time selling, you blame it on the fact that the customer is not interested on the product, on the solution, on whatever you’re delivering.

And most of the time, the real reason is that you didn’t understand the problem or you didn’t really address the problem. My understanding of the topic of today, which you just shortly mentioned, water risk assessment water risk, and the risk word is that maybe a lot of the reasons why we are not moving that fast in the water word is because we misunderstand, misjudge or under evaluate the risk.

If you don’t notice there’s a problem, why would you solve the problem? That’s why I’m really excited to have that conversation with you about risk today, and I’d love for you to start by defining what you understand by this risk and water risk.

Jennifer Möller-Gulland: I, I agree. I think that’s why I like water risks and a specialized into water risks from water economics because it was exactly the lever I needed to kind of change something because people around realizing like what is actually at stake, and finding a way to explain it easily to them, does change things.

So how I define water risks, I look at it from three different categories. One is physical water risk includes water stress, so mismatch of supply and demand water pollution and water related disasters, the floods droughts, landslides and such. The other big categories, water infrastructure risks.

So everything from. From source to when we treat wastewater and discharge wastewater again and in a hopefully treated way, most often it’s not treated. And then the final one is governance risk, which I think is extremely important and very much ignored. If we look at water risk assessment, so looking everything at the legal system what is the institutional setting?

What are the different stakeholders? How are they coordinating with each other? What is the level of corruption? How does it influence what is happening on the ground? Like often, just ignored topic, right? It’s super prevalent in all the countries we’re working in actually in all countries, just to different degrees, right?

What is the level of capacity? Can people actually do the tasks they’re supposed to be doing? What is data? Data also falls under governance. And then looking at these three different categories, so physical water risk, infrastructure risk, water governance risk together allows you to understand what dis risks we are dealing with in the location we’re looking at.

Antoine Walter: Who needs to understand those risks?

Jennifer Möller-Gulland: I think everybody needs to know the risks. For different purposes, , even you and I, we should know the level of water risks we’re facing in the place we’re living in, right? If we look at Flint and Michigan and the US for example the government is supposed to provide clean safe drinking water, right?

But they were like providing water, which had far high levels of lead. And even after they were highlighting it, they weren’t taking the request seriously. And if the citizens hadn’t realized themselves that they’re drinking polluted water, who knows what would’ve happened? Even now it’s bad enough.

I mean, Shelvin have got. Lifelong damages, cause of the lead poisoning and everything. But I think even for a consumer, it’s important to understand your level of water risk where you’re at. But otherwise, I mean, for government, of course it’s critical. You’re supposed to manage your country.

You need to know water risks. It’s connected to your economic development, it’s connected to your social development, it’s connected to gender equality. If we look at women spending so much time collecting water instead of going to school and working, so it’s connected to every facet of an economy.

Then companies, you’re responsible if only within your factory boundary. You’re responsible to take water sustainably and discharge water in a tweeted way according to the best standard. So you should know about water risks too.

And If you’re a company on industry and you need some level of water, You would need to know if you’re in a water stressed area or not if you need some kind of level of quality water. For example, if you’re a data center, you need to understand what is the pollution in the water?

Like, how much do I have to treat it, what would it cost me to treat the water to level I can actually use it. And what does it look like in the future? So if you want to build a new site, How safe is the water situation? So we see with Tesla, for example, which opened a factory in close to Berlin they underestimated the water risks, right?

And they incurred quite high costs because they had to change things before they were allowed to open finally. So just, it’s a financial implication for companies. So you’ve got like governments, you’ve got companies, you have just civil society, just you and I. Like, it’s important for each one of us to know it’s important from multi national development agencies to understand like, where’s my focus?

What I’m gonna prioritize? How are things connected? It’s important for investors, for lenders. If I ever give somebody a loan might it default because there’s a lack of water or polluted water, is it gonna be a drought or flood a landslide? So it’s really relevant for all of us from different angles, right?

Antoine Walter: it is relevant to all of us and you say very rightfully that we should know more about it, but if we are realistic, How much do we really know about? I mean, let’s take a stupid measure, but just to put a level on that, on a scale from one to 10, what is our awareness about the water risk we’re facing today

Jennifer Möller-Gulland: That’s a good question. And I think it depends a lot on who you ask, but I think overall as a society, I think maybe a three out of 10, we don’t really know. We don’t really know.

And again, I might be looking at it in a positive way, right. but. Even if you look at the data available data we have, for example, in daca, the capital of Bangladesh, it nearly fully depends on groundwater. Like I think 70% at least is using groundwater, right? It’s like a massive multimillion city.

We do not know how much groundwater we actually have available, like how long it’s going to last. We know it’s falling. But you know, if you look at the estimates of the actually groundwater volume, you know, they’re like hugely different. So we actually, we don’t know, we know like an upper bound, we know a lower bound, but the so far parts are basically say we actually, we don’t know.

And then what are the risks of that? Or even pollution. We don’t even know. With pfas coming up more and more, we don’t know why PFAS is in which water sources is. Cause we’re not measuring it. So you’ve got so many unknown factors.

And we’ve got so many unknown factors in every place. We are.

We’ve got so many unknown factors.

Antoine Walter: for, For pfas it’s easy. It’s everywhere. It’s raining pfas in Antarctica, so you can assume that if it’s raining pfas in Antarctica there, there’s pfas everywhere, which we don’t know though, what are the exact health consequences of it with suspicions, but we don’t have like hard proof for every single compound.

And for the combination of those,

You mentioned three categories of risk the physical risk, the infrastructure risk, and the governance risk. And you mentioned the example of Flint. I think that’s an interesting one because people will know the case of Flint first because it’s been discussed quite a lot for a lot of reasons and a lot of good reasons.

But if you’ve just watched the Michael Moore movie, what you know about Flint is they had a LED problem. So physical risk, quality, risk, they solved it hopefully. So the physical risk is gone. So we are good. But if you look at the way, let’s take governance. let’s look at the way all of that was managed.

Did anything change in the way it’s managed? Probably not. So the governance risk is still exactly the same, and yet people will consider flins to be solved. Do I misunderstand that because I’m a half empty type of person or?

Jennifer Möller-Gulland: I think I’m not sure about the exact governance changes in Flint. So I didn’t work in Flint, so I couldn’t give you the specifics about it. But if you look at governance in general, it’s not really set to identify risks in a strange way, right?  If you’re in the government, you want to make sure you keep your job .

You wanna make sure you don’t flag too many things, which could be costing you your job. So if something strange happens the first reaction would be , let’s keep it another carpet for now. Let’s have a look what is going on? And if we don’t know, let’s just keep quiet, somebody else is gonna take care of it, right?

And let’s, attitude is really dangerous, especially around water because we depend on it, it’s dangerous for anything, but especially for water. So unless you have any kind of very quick , functioning mechanisms It’s not going to change. So unless they have like some kind of nationwide way of response, like, how do I respond if I get like an unusual measurement of lead, of arsenic, of pfas, whatever it is, am I drinking water?

There has to be established protocol, which is followed. And there have to be different areas where I can call to really make sure I get supported. Because the people in Flint, they were having crazy results and their water quality samples, and they were being told it’s animality. It was a, kind of an outlier or whatever.

Like, no, people were actually really affected, right? And they didn’t have any place where they could really go and have the creek action they needed the thing. Unless we have any kind of escalation mechanism like that, the governance’s problem also isn’t solved.

Antoine Walter: Let me take one risk, which, and you’ll tell me if that’s relevant to, and classify that as risk, but which is to me the most famous, at the same time, maybe the most misused one, and I’m well placed to say it’s misused because I’ve used it to lead into my TED Talk. So maybe I’m the first. Person to misuse it, but it’s this disfigure given by the 2030 Water Resource Group, which shows that if we don’t change anything the way we behave with water, well by 2030, we are missing 40% of the water needed to strike a balance.

And when I discuss with people tell me, yeah, like, that’s ever gonna happen. We will find a way. Yeah, but what’s the consistent way? So that’s my first problem with that risk. My second problem with that risk is that if you look at startup pitches, they would just randomly say, we are missing 40% of the water.

Hence we’re doing something totally unrelated. But that was just our lead intro into the topic. So how do we understand this water quantity risk, and how much are we missing the core of it? If we just focus on this kind of lighthouse risks,

Jennifer Möller-Gulland: Yeah, it’s a good number to use to get attention. For sure. it does show we’re facing a real issue. But I think the number doesn’t tell you, like, the extent of the risk one, because water is extremely local, as you know, So 40% is an average. In some places it’s a lot worse. In some places it’s a lot better, So the 40% of itself doesn’t really tell us the extent of the situation in which we. Should be worried about. Another thing is it only includes, as you say the quantitative risk, right? It doesn’t look at the qualitative risk.

So of the 40% gap, the 60% which we’re kind of meeting, right? How much are we actually using water we don’t really want to use. Cause it’s polluted. I mean, if you look at countries, I mean we, from working in India, in Bangladesh and Indonesia, you’ve got rivers which are just dead. There’s sewage, and there’s like massive volume.

There’s not like a small flow on the side of the street. Like no, these are massive rivers, massive lakes, foaming, burning water you can’t use. It’s not considered in those numbers. I would say it’s even worse. then we have other risks like infrastructure risk. How much are we losing through non-revenue?

Water of the water We’re is actually physically available, treated, put into the system. And then, being lost under way the thing, these factors aren’t, Included in this numbers, I would say the number is even worse. However, it’s a good start to kind of start the conversation, but in terms of

how to move beyond it? Like how to solve it?

, you really have to look at it in a lot more local space, right? You have to look at least on a river basin basis, if not sub river basin, and understand the whole situation. And then look at, okay, in this place, what can I do?

Like what is the physical gap? What is the quality situation like? What does the infrastructure look like? What does the governance situation look like? Why are we here in the first place? Because I believe if you have good governance, you wouldn’t have the problem, right? Because it would be taken care of, because you would have good governance.

And then you would have to find solutions from that situation. And I think looking at it from a national level or global level won’t help us very much because we need to just. Become , more aware of where is the actual problem? How do I solve the problem? It’s very different in every country.

So like, one solution fits all as it’s very localized.

Antoine Walter: One problem I would see is, We as humans, we can easily deal with black and white on and off. Let me give you two examples of that. If you look at the infrastructure in the US, and, sorry, I don’t want to be just tackling the us, but it’s just the number have not from the top of my head. In the eighties, they evaluated that they needed to invest 180 billion to bring the infrastructure back to the quality stage.

It should be by the latest E p a assessment. We are at 550 billion. So we are really evolving in the wrong direction. But as long as it doesn’t break, I mean, need to improve it, but it’s working, so why should you do something about it? So, so that would be my first example of black and white.

My second brings me back to Germany. Germany is using 19.5% of its renewable water resources. And the threshold says if you’re below 20%, then you’re good. So Germany says, I’m good. 19.5 isn’t 20%. And then on the other side of the border, you have Denmark, which is at 20.3%, and which is behaving since two decades as one of the most water stress countries in the world, and really taking a lot of actions because they’re above the 20% threshold.


How do you bring this sense to decision makers, to water professionals, to big companies? That it’s not about black and white, it’s about shade of gray.

Jennifer Möller-Gulland: These, These are good questions. So starting off with the first question he had was the infrastructure investments required and not being taken action because we can fix it somehow. . If you have a, bottle of sparkling water because it’s got more pressure inside. And then you put holes into the bottle and you start fixing about putting tape onto it, right? Like the more holes you have. At some point the tape can’t hold anymore. It’s just going to explode, it’s gonna leak. And I think the same is with our infrastructure.

We can fix it in small increments. It’s going to last yes. But at some point it’s just going to break. You’ve got like an old dam, you can fix small holes. At some point it’s going to break. And I think because with the political cycles, they have like five year cycles usually, right?

So you don’t wanna have a massive investment in your five year cycle. So if you can push it to the next five year cycle, you would do that. And with the money, instead of investing it in water, which, usually causes an annoyance. Like if you re review, renew pipes in the street, you cost traffic jams, right?

So people are gonna be annoyed with you instead of being like, happy that you’re gonna have, safe water in the future, right? So you want to have the next person dealing with people upset with the traffic. If you use some money instead to build a kindergarten or a school or a nice park, people are going to be happy about it, right?

So any decision maker looking at a short-term gain to cannot be reelected in the cycle. We’ll be focusing on what can I use my money for to make my voters happy. Which is not a blocked up abroad and traffic jams and everything, right? So looking at that and then realizing that at some point it’s going to blow up just because the way decision making decisions are made is not made for the long-term sustainability, right?

It’s made for a short-term gain, a reelection cycle of five years or four years, depending on your country. Which is gonna be a problem for all of us in the future. And we’re just waiting for the first countries to really fail. If we look at the US, they have got these infrastructure scorecards, right?

Where they evaluate all the infrastructure and give them a grade. And I think water was d in the last one. A being the best, f being the worst. And I think it, it improved to C minus, I think, a major improvement. But you know, you can see like, it’s actually bad. It’s actually bad.

And if you look at the definition of D it’s bad. So it’s just a matter of time, like to see when the first situations are going to really show that you can’t fix problems incrementally, anyone. You have to overhaul it completely. But I’ve been asking professionals, like, how would you overhaul, for example, England, London’s infrastructure from the Victorian age, how do you do that and how would you pay for it?

And I haven’t received an answer yet, which is very concerning, right? Then looking at the black and white. I agree. I think, I mean, decisions have to be made on something, right? And you have to have some kind of indicators of people who don’t understand The degrees, the shades of gray of different issues, right?

So you have to just find some kind of metric to help decision makers make a decision. But I agree, like these thresholds, like the 20%, it’s a bit arbitrary if you look at, of 19.5, is okay, but 20 point 22 I think you mentioned is, an issue. You have to look at it in a more holistic way, of course.

I mean, I would say it’s not too bad to be water secure, right? Like to aim to be water secure. I think it’s always good, but then you just don’t look at, balancing budgets and making sure you don’t go overboard with anything. But I think having decision make us contextualizing it, right?

Like, and I, in my water risk assessment analysis I show like, you’ve got like the different water stress index thresholds, right? And you say, okay we aren’t there yet, but we’re coming close, to just become aware of that. The same with the the gap you mentioned, right? The 40% gap.

It’s like a water supply demand gap. Estimate, right? Which is, severe water stress if you put into the water stress index. But I’ll be showing the water stress index as well to make sure people don’t think, oh, we don’t have a gap, so we are okay. You want to make sure we don’t have a gap.

Yes, it’s true, but we’re moving from low water stress to medium stress, to high water stress, to severe water stress, which is in the gap. So if we’re already in high water stress, you’re short before you have the gaps. You have to take action right now. So think giving a more context to the numbers would.

Antoine Walter: you mentioned this pedagogy and how you are implementing that in your assessments. You’ve been directly involved in eight multi-year water risk assessments for, I guess, eight different countries,

Jennifer Möller-Gulland: few of them are in the same country but in, in different regions of the country. So Mongolia for example, we worked on with the 2030 Water Resources Group when I was still with pwc. We looked at a national level assessment and then we found two regions which were like really at risk, which is the city of Ulan Bator, the capital, and the mining regional of the Southern Gobi.

So we’d be looking at like in depth, looking at the assessments in these areas to zoom more, to find cost effective solutions. And yes, and there was a Vietnam, Indonesia Bangladesh, Kenya, like multiple countries over different years. Yes.

Antoine Walter: And how do you run one of these assessments? Where do you start? What’s the deliverable? How much time do you have? Who are the stakeholders which involve.

Jennifer Möller-Gulland: it can be really short. So for multinational companies, you be doing the assessments. You can do like a city a week, for example, if you really want to push it, right? We’ll be having a high level assessment. But for these assessments with the World Bank and 20 City Water Resources Group, they were much longer because they were intended to really understand the situation of the country.

So I would say at the very least, you would need. At least a year um, from beginning to end. And you have to understand first why are we doing the assessment or like, what is the intention of the assessment?

And then you would kind of tailor it accordingly and looking at the different stakeholders. So we always start with looking who are the key stakeholders in this country? We speak to them to see, okay, what are the problems we’re looking at? Over the years, they developed a blueprint looking at the different areas I want to look at in the water risk assessment, following the physical water risk, infrastructure risk, governance risk, ?

To just not be led astray by all the different opinions, but it’s very much contextual, right? So safe have to understand and the country, like what are the key problems we’re looking at, which direction do we want to go into? What are the points of emphasis, right? Because you can’t look at everything.

You have to look at a few hotspot topics which are most relevant for the country, be it pollution, be it water stress, be it infrastructure issues. It could be, or just, even governance, right? Like you’ve got like a law missing or something, which we identify and then you just do an analysis, collecting all the data just doing the technical analysis of it and.

With the 2030 what resource group, what we did was bringing together a multi stakeholder platform. So bringing together private sector, public sector service, society to one table and asking them, so this is our analysis. What do you think? What did we miss? What do you think are the biggest priorities?

What do you think are the underlying reasons which we might not have captured? Why are these things happening? To really come to the bottom of it, I love the question why, and I think we should use it a lot more. I usually kind of tend to ask why seven times? And at the end of it, you really know you came to the bottom of it, ?

It’s like annoying four year old, like, mommy why? But. The energy come to a good conclusion. And then based on that, like, and we really understand the underlying challenges, we can then develop solutions, ? And if you have the different stakeholders in one table, you can really see, okay what solution can we bring forward and what do I need to make the solution work?

For example, the private sector may say, yes, I do want to, like in Vietnam for example, yes, we do want to recycle water, but currently there’s no regulation allowing it that we are allowed to reuse treated water. So we can’t do it. If we do it, we’re going to be going against regulation, which we don’t want to do, right?

So the one side, you’re telling us we have to do it, but then you don’t realize we don’t have the regulatory requirements to actually do it, ? And these things can become very clear when you bring these three stakeholder groups into one table because , you are all in your own silo, ? Like, you’re just thinking you’re doing the right thing and what the other people are not behaving because for whatever reason, until you realize that actually they’re not doing the thing you want them to do because they just can’t because of.

X, Y, Z, right? And civil society is always great to bring in because they’re very good at highlighting the actual challenges, right? So nobody can hide from civil society organizations, ? And what I like to do is, in these assessments with civil society, I like to look at the extreme opinions.

And as a consultant, I can do that. Like, if were to be staff of Word Bank un it would be harder to go like to the ngo, which child’s loudest, ? Because it might become like whatever they might use it for media or whatever, but for me, I can just go there innocently and ask them where what is the problem?

Why are you so angry? If you really go to the extreme ends, ? And there will always be some kind of truth in it, right? Like, nobody is angry or annoyed for no reason. And then you can see, what is a common ground? I can look between the two extremes. And then you really understand the issue much better. And then if you wouldn’t be speaking to them and you just stay in the same narrative, everybody says the same thing, so I always try to get very different opinions just to make sure the analysis is inclusive, right.

Antoine Walter: And what happens next? You produce a report, but what’s the fate of that report? How does it get executed?

Jennifer Möller-Gulland: Yeah, that’s the thing, which is an annoying part of being a consultant, right? Like you, you submit report and you give it the blessings and you send it off and you just, keep your fingers crossed and people are going to use it because that’s why your area of action kind of ends, right?

But so for example, we’ll see MA platforms with the training study, water resources group, and I’m just quo them cuz I work with them for the last seven years. And I just stopped like, I think last year, but until then it was like continuous and building multiple stakeholder platforms and working with them in different areas.

But you’ll be developing different work streams. So you’ve got the national level multi stakeholder platform, which you, what I mentioned just now, you kind of discuss a report and search, then you identify what are the key areas I wanna focus on. So you’ll be splitting this Platform developing new working groups and the different topics.

And again, you always have private sector, civil society public sector together on one table. And then you focus on, okay, what can we do to solve this problem? And you’d be looking at options and kind of bringing solutions, having pilot projects or bigger projects and just, implementing the changes.

Now if the report is for the World Bank, of course they would be including it in their lending operations, right? They would be including it in the national country strategies whereby they’re doing the reports to be able to help the countries. And to have like a targeted strategy within the lending operations and to go to the countries to propose different projects based on what the priorities were identified in the report.

And the governments themselves, I mean they, in Vietnam, they’re very interested in the report we did for them because we connected it to G D P impacts. And we noticed as soon as we did that, we got like a whole level of different attention of course, because they were focusing on of course improving their economy, growing.

And we found, I think in Vietnam it was 6% loss and GDP yearly by 20 35 if they didn’t take action, which was a huge number. And it’s very conservative because, you can’t quantify all water risks, right? So it just, once we could quantify and there were many more. So just looking at that and then, the government is taking action a bit like wastewater treatment plans in Hanoi.

And we’d have to follow up again exactly what is happening inside the government. Which is bit difficult to do. From my perspective. But I do follow up again with the different teams to just see, okay, what is happening and things are happening. It’s just are they as fast as we want them to be?

No, of course not. But again, it’s like this kind of trying to not get depressed by it. Like, at least being happy about the positive changes. Even if there aren’t as much as we would want them to be.

Antoine Walter: You’ve been in the trenches and you still are somewhat the, in those watered trenches. Yet you’ve added a new dimension to it, which is that you want to raise the awareness and the understanding of these water risks. And you’ve been launching a training on those water risks

More than a training, but you’ll explain that.

What is the reason why you, you wanted to go into that direction and who are you catering that to and how does it look like?

Jennifer Möller-Gulland: So basically, I mean, I’ve been working on this topic for a long time, and people were reaching out to me asking me, so how do I assess water risks? How do I do this assessment? How do I do it properly? I did have the answers, but it was like too time consuming to tell everybody individually, right?

And there was no place I could direct them to. There’s no website telling you like, what are water risks? How do I assess them? What are the pros? What are the cons? What are the dos? What are the don’ts? And at the same time, I was seeing like many assessments coming onto the market, so to say, of being done.

Which we’re not really looking at all the water risks, right? Like many times they were just looking at water stress using like the water risk filter from WWA for W ACR product, which are great tools and I use them a lot. But you can only use them really to prioritize. The areas you would like to look in more deeply, ?

I can use them , to prioritize from a hundred sides that can look at the top 10 to then do my actual assessment. But the people wouldn’t be doing the actual assessment. They would just be using the filter or these tools to use it as a whole retro risk assessment. you know, the thing is, which I also speak about in the training, the different reasons why you shouldn’t be doing it.

One is this global dataset, so it just doesn’t give you the risk for you and free your location, right? So what I was seeing is that we’ve got like many assessments and many people working with water risks, which isn’t correct. Let’s put it like that. And then you see, as a person, I am passionate about kind of bringing water security forward and I see what’s happening.

So I think know we can’t waste our time with. Incorrect assessments and kind of building decisions on those. There was one reason, just like, kind of think that there’s a gap in the market for actually what are water risk assessments. Then people coming to me again and like more frequently asking me like how do I assess it?

How do I deal with water risks? And I mean, not having any place to to send them to. And not even a university program. I dunno, any program which actually deals on exactly. Looking at water risks. I think it was just a need of the hour, so I was feeling frustrated about seeing what I was seeing.

When I was doing my assessments, it was difficult to get people who actually knew how to do assessments and not having any good answers to people, which were coming to me. So I actually did a survey and just asked people, if I were to do a training, what would you want to learn?

And I got like, such a huge response. I mean, 200 people responded to my very long survey. So thank you for everybody listening who actually did and kind of motivated me. Okay, there is demand, there is need for it. And I did spend last 10 years, understanding how to do assessments, right?

Like a trial and error back and forth. I think people shouldn’t be doing that again. They can just benefit from what we learned on the way. So we decided to do a training and it’s a 12 week training. Just because what people wanted to learn was quite substantial. And I also know what they need to know to be able to achieve what they want to learn, right?

So it’s a training, teaching you the foundations teaching you how to use, I mean, basically what are water risks? How do you assess them? Who should be assessing them? What is a corporate water risk? What will governments look at? Then looking at how to use tools where you can do a quick level scan.

And then also how can you use them? How should you not be using them? And whenever you need to go beyond it, how do you go beyond it? And then the biggest module is really around how do I assess water risk holistically, looking at water resources, risk, infrastructure, risk, water governance, risk, the sweet categories we spoke at the beginning.

And then the last module is really around what do I do once I have my assessment, right? Because you asked me what happens with the report once you finish it. So the thing, what you can do is you. Make the report the best way you can do it so that people are actually gonna be using it, right? So we look at how to prevent your findings, how to communicate your findings, how to put them into context with GDP risk, financial risks what if scenario storytelling, all the different ways you can actually bring your message across.

What solutions would you have to the water risk You identified how do youth multi stakeholder platforms and how do you include your water risk assessments and different types of decision making tools like cost benefit analysis and such. So at the end of the training, the students will really be able to do their own water risk assessment and they would be pretty much knowing everything around water risks which was my intention.

I want them to really come out of the training and know everything about water risks and be able to do it on their own in a way, which they have done before in the training. They do their own water risk assessment. I review it so at the end, they really do know that they can do it right and I’m confident that they can do it.

So, Yeah, with the intention that they’re gonna be better risk assessments in the future.

Antoine Walter: You mentioned the students. What’s the typical profile of someone who would get trained in your 12 week training?

Jennifer Möller-Gulland: You know what’s funny? Like I targeted initially to young water professionals, but there’re not many young water professionals joining us. Like 20% Max.

Antoine Walter: I was gonna tell you exactly that when I read your introduction it really catered to these young professionals and let’s crack the secrets. I got you. You were recommended by some of your Ali and they are definitely not, I don’t want you to insult their age, but in terms of experience

they are definitely not younger, the professionals, they are very experienced ones and arguably some of the people which would know the most about the sector.

So it gives a hint at the level of value you’re sharing because. If those people learned something inside that training, then I can guess everybody would learn. So,

Jennifer Möller-Gulland: I have to say I’m really humbled and sometimes people join the training and I look at them like, wow, I think I would feel like you would be my teacher rather than the other around. But I think because it’s such a specialized topic, I think everybody can actually get value from it. So you do have young professionals coming who feel like university didn’t equipe them with enough tools to actually get a job or to work like in a proper job.

But then as you mentioned, you’ve got seasoned water professionals who’ve been working in water for 10, 15, 20 years who come but who are just looking at a different aspect of water, right? Like you’ve got. Who are maybe consultants, they’ve been working on consulting all their lives but they want to kind of add the water risk niche to their portfolio.

Then you have engineers. I get quite a few engineers who of course are brilliant with the engineering side, but they would like to understand the bigger picture of what is beyond. , my focus of engineering to be able to do a better job in the engineering. Or maybe people want to just shift career, right?

Like you might be an engineer, you might be working on a specific topic in water or beyond water. And you want to just focus on risk assessments, maybe shift to more water stewardship, more policy and governance. So you can take the training, which kind of helps you make that step. Or keeping people new to water as well.

So as I have people who are new to water, completely new and it even works for them, they have to do a bit more work in terms of understanding what is groundwater, whatever. But it doesn’t take too much effort. Like I had a lady working for investment company joining who were creating a water fund and they just needed some support.

And like, what do I put into a water fund? What do I look at? How do I evaluate my investments? Looking at water risk? You have all kinds of people. And the nice thing is, for one the different ages, it’s this extremely diverse group, which is very nice for conversations cuz we have the workshops too, right?

So there’s a very diverse in age. They very diverse in profession, they’re very diverse in experience, a very diverse in geography. Like in one training, I had somebody join in Los Angeles getting up at like five o’clock in the morning and the fire end in New Zealand getting up at like two o’clock in the morning to just join the training, so it’s extremely diverse.

That would be my answer. I didn’t quite name in my target group yet.

Antoine Walter: How many people did you train so far?

Jennifer Möller-Gulland: It’s around 55. So it’s small groups because I do their own assessment, so I want to make sure that I can give enough support while doing the assessment. I kind of choose the people who take the training to make sure it’s a nice group also in terms of building a network afterwards.

Antoine Walter: There is a gate , to that 12 week program aside from the one you just mentioned of you’re looking at people and only offering to people who would extract the value from it. Gate is absolutely the wrong word for it, because it’s the opposite of a gate. It’s an open gate.

Let’s say it’s an open door. You have a, a first workshop, which you are offering for free. If I’m right.

Jennifer Möller-Gulland: Yeah, that’s right.

Antoine Walter: I think it was yesterday, your last one but if someone would still listen to that after the last one you’ve shared, is there any chance for them to have like a second chance and to watch how that looks like?

Jennifer Möller-Gulland: I can share the link with you and you can put it, I think you’ve got show notes. I can share a link with you and people can just sign up and watch it.

Antoine Walter: Because I, I guess if someone’s listen up to that point, it’s probably a good sign that they’re interested to the water risk. And if so many brilliant minds tell that there is. Value to extract from what you’re proposing. It would be a pity that they can’t benefit from the first step of your funnel.

I could even take you to an enter sidetrack because, , my partner in crime on the water show, Björn Otto is a marketing specialist and he’s looked up your funnel and he’s like, amazed by the way, you set all of that up and he was wondering if you were doing that on your own or if you had some support

Jennifer Möller-Gulland: I’m glad to hear, like, I think I’m trying to bridge the words cause I don’t know if but I lived in Bali for three and a half years, and of course in Bali you have a whole bunch of coaches and yoga teachers and entrepreneurs. And during Covid, they were all working on let’s put it online, right?

And they were doing a great job on and just creating their online products. And we’re thinking yoga and coaching is great, but waters us are really important. I wonder we can kind of bridge the gap and take it to a very untraditional space of water and just test the final strategy.

And it’s been interesting. It’s been a quite a journey. I did take a training on how to do an online training, which I can recommend it from coaching masters. And that taught me everything I needed to just start with. I, of course, as a what specialist, you’ve got no idea of marketing and how to do an online training and what is required and how do you do, if no idea, does this training really help me?

So I can recommend that and guide people to it if anybody wants to do this training. But thank you for the feedback. It’s kind of, unusual space to be, right? Like for water professional.

Antoine Walter: Yeah, it is so many levels, an unusual space to be. Someone has to open the path and to dig up the ground. So that’s you.

Jennifer Möller-Gulland: Yeah. But I think, water is so important and I really do feel water is extremely important. And I think maybe we have to kind of go out of our silo of traditional way of doing things. I also really encourage my students , to share the knowledge on social media, like to share the knowledge on LinkedIn, because, I mean, we feel shy about doing it right, but in the end, if you have one person with your insight you already contributed to, supporting the cause of, moving towards water security.

And I think kind of changing our mindset of just, let’s just share what we know. I mean, coaches share what they know. Like yoga teachers share what they know. Why can’t we share what we know? Yeah.

Antoine Walter: I think for the exact reason, which I would’ve given you spontaneously, but now it sounds like I really read everything , you published because I, I would say it’s Dun Kruger. read this effect of. It’s a curved with four, four different points.

You start by knowing nothing and hence having this confidence of I know nothing. And and then you get a little bit of knowledge and you believe you know everything. And then there’s this big gap where you realize you don’t know everything because you know what, you know when you believe everybody knows what you know and then you notice everything you don’t know and then you have to climb back that hill.

And I think a lot of water professionals are in that third stage of done in Kruger believing that everybody knows what happens beyond the tap, beyond the flush. And in fact, nobody knows. And so that’s, it’s, it’s an industry with 80% engineers. So

Jennifer Möller-Gulland: Yeah.

Antoine Walter: an engineer is not that confident in sharing with the word.

So that’s another barrier to, to overcome, but

Jennifer Möller-Gulland: Yeah.

Antoine Walter: don’t want to rent for too long on that one. to, To bring you, you back on track. My last question to understand where you’re aiming at in, in that deep dive is you have trained these 55 people, you will train more in the future.

You are building a higher awareness towards disorder risk, how to do an assessment and how to act upon the assessment and how to move the needle. If you look now in the future and up to you to decide if it’s five years, 10 years, I don’t know, what’s your horizon? What will tell you that you had an impact?

What’s your kpi?

Jennifer Möller-Gulland: That’s a good one. So I think for me it is helping as many people as I can get the job they really want to work in, ? Because I believe the first step in creating changes, working in a job you really enjoy. So if people would like to work more on water risk or water stewardship or something, then this training can help them to make that step out of, engineering or out of whatever they were doing.

That’s one kpi, which is very untangible, people who are having job satisfaction, right? But the next thing is, the people are including. And water risk assessments into their work. So either they change job and they go somewhere it’s being done, or they’re kind of including it in the current workplace.

So the more assessments I see and people are realizing about how to assess water correctly and using it for their work, the better. So I think my kpi p I would be in 10 years time to see that water risk assessment are mandatory to before you do any kind of investment. Like, or any significant investment.

So if the awareness is there that I realize as a company, I want to expand my operations to somewhere in India, the first step I’ll be doing, I mean, not the first step, but one of the steps is I would do my water risk assessment to have a look at it actually is safe for me to do that without impacting the other people around too much.

And then if yes, what are my measures to kind of reduce water usage or whatever you have to do to kind of reduce the impact. And looking at governments too, like that they just have it as part of their regular assessments. Looking at, in my country, what does the water risk look like?

and how is it changing from year to year? Here, the accountability comes in, right? Which we don’t have in the UN water conference, which governor should definitely have, right? Like, what does it what does it look like in my country? How am I moving towards my goals? What are my goals? And yeah, what kind do come to Watson?

So I think for one thing, what people knowing about water risks is great. And then seeing like the application of it, of water risk assessments and all kinds of activities like for companies, for multinational organizations, for loans, people before you give a loan, just be quiet, quick water risks check, just to safeguard yourself.

I think the benefit is in water risk, is that reason why I’m drawn to it too. It’s got a very strong lever. It actually makes financial sense to do a water risk assessment. For anyone, I mean, for a country, of course, for a government for a company, for investors. So I think, we are gonna see one future.

It’s just it’s gonna take some time before it. Hits awareness. But I think we are gonna see a lot of it more in the future. And then if I can contribute a tiny bit to that, that would be my kpi where I would say, okay I actually did something good in my life.

Antoine Walter: I said it was the last question. I lied. You just raised much more with what you just explained. Let me start with a difficult one. You are clearly over what you explained over the past hour. You bring a lot of value to a lot of different people. But if I. Really push in a corner and say you have a starving crowd.

Who is that specific profile, specific type of stakeholder who will benefit the most of looking with much more accuracy into water risks?

Jennifer Möller-Gulland: I think the different ways of looking at it , for their own benefit, I think it would be companies operating in areas of water risk and investors investing in areas of water risk because they have a direct financial benefit of looking at water risks.

I think it would be a a direct feedback loop. I avoid an investment in a water risky area. I don’t lose my money. I, it’s a pretty, pretty good loop. Or like, or I take different measures, I don’t have to not invest, I just take different measures to mitigate my risk.

But the bigger group responsible for a larger amount of people would be governments clearly, but there, there’s not a direct benefit to one person, it’s a job, it’s a mandate, it’s what they’re supposed to do. It’s a collective benefit.

Antoine Walter: I, I can’t open that sidetrack now because an entirely different podcast, which we would be restarting from now. I’m fully with you on the companies and the investors. I have a hard time to see governments really acting on something which they’ve been actively ignoring for decades. but I don’t want to open I,

Jennifer Möller-Gulland: I’m gonna keep my mouth shut.

Antoine Walter: no, it’s, the point is I do know that I have um, unpopular opinion on that one.

I got called out in conferences, like being the devil’s right hand because I don’t believe in governments on that specific point. A lot of trust in government for a lot of stuff. I just have my struggles with water, so I don’t want to put you in a bad situation with my crazy opinions. But when you mention the companies and investors and the way to mitigate it, the other bell, it was ringing in my head, and you’ll tell me how wrong am I?

If I’m making a water risk assessment as a company, and I realized that one of my risk is linked to physical risk, one of the way to mitigate it might be to heavily invest into water futures. That’s the beauty of having this financial mechanism now to cover it. And that sounds like an easy way out.

Like , there’s gonna be a financial product, which covers my risk regardless of the risk.

Jennifer Möller-Gulland: You mean the financial product?

Antoine Walter: you invest in, in water futures. In, for instance, if you are in North America, you would invest in water futures. If you’re in Australia, you invest on the Murray Darling reefs. If you’re in Chile water is traded as well.

Jennifer Möller-Gulland: Yeah. So the three, so three examples you mentioned are pretty much the only examples where you have water markets, where you also have the Colorado water market, but otherwise, except for those, you don’t have many more watermarks where you could just do that, right? I mean, in Germany I can’t invest in water future here because there’s no watermark, so, and to have a water market, I actually want augmentation on that in Oxford on water markets. That’s funny you kinda mentioned that. But you have to have so many criteria which come together to make it possible to have a water market. You know, You have to have the infrastructure, you have to be able to measure it.

You have to have the governance structure in place, you have to geography to be able to kind of, have like your in and your out. It’s not an easy thing to do and many of them have failed in the pursuit of doing it. So I don’t think, a water futures market’s gonna help you maybe in very limited places.

But even then, I mean, what do you do? You buy a water future and and then suddenly you’ve got like a one and a hundred years drought. And they saw too many water futures. What are you gonna do?

Antoine Walter: You’re gonna transfer your money into a nature assets company, which is the next class of financial stuff you can invest in. No I’m, the

Jennifer Möller-Gulland: Yeah, yeah, Yeah. Yeah. Play, play.

Antoine Walter: I had a deep dive with Scott Hamilton on that microphone about the water market in Australia and how we destroyed the river.

So I’m not a proponent. I had a much more balanced episode with Ellen Bruno about the potential of having a water market for groundwater trading in California, which showed the perspectives the positives, the negatives and all the inbetweens, and had several conversations on that microphone with Nicola Lei Ravello about the water futures and the way to to have like an entrance on water.

But you’re raising fair concerns. I’m just, if the most direct value of the water risk assessments is extracted by financial, private players, which sounds like absolutely logical, there’s also this temptation to, to solve it the same way, solve it in a financial way by just investing on a market. But

I’m a muggle, you’re the specialist.

Jennifer Möller-Gulland: Yeah. No, and I think the a lot safer option, cause we know our stock markets are a bit risky at times. Especially if you need to be able to rely on them, this suddenly tend to do strange things. But I mean, I would say a much better investment would be just to invest in water efficient technology.

Because if you just reduce your water requirements by 50%, you already say 50% of the futures you have to buy. So I think that might be a smarter decision, especially for places where you don’t have water future markers.

Antoine Walter: think you’re hitting the nail on the head here. It’s really about, if you can in depth understand this water risk element, it is crucial as a water company. Because why would you convince an industrial to invest into a water reuse scheme into a high technology, which might be costly?

You have to first. , I’m bringing it back to how I opened that deep dive about the sales element of you have to understand the problem before coming with the solution. And that’s exactly, it’s the problem is there won’t be water for everybody if just everybody is acting in a wasteful way with water.

And that just, I do get one of the elements o of the water risk but just that one already justifies that you would dive into it. I understand how 55% got value and and I’m sure more people will have value in the future.

Jennifer Möller-Gulland: Yes, but you must come to your point. I mean, the reason why companies don’t invest in these infrastructure is because the low price of water, right? Which, you know, is politically kept down and you can’t increase it. I mean, for many reasons. I don’t see it happening any time soon.

But that’s why you would have to understand as a company yourself, what are your water risks? What’s your financial impact if you don’t do it, I mean, regardless of the water price, you forget about the water price. Like what happens if you just don’t have water anymore or you don’t know, 50% less? Like what is it gonna do to your operations and how likely is a scenario to happen?

If it’s likely you better invest in something to reduce your water usage? Because it’s just a clear financial benefit for you. And and I think kind of arguing from that perspective, which is why water risk assessments are useful because they show you like what value is at risk. If I don’t take action and what are my risks?

So I’m not fully agree. Like if you just ask a company out of the blue, like, you should be invest millions in a reuse infrastructure, and they’re like, why would I mean, water costs is nothing basically, so why would I do that? There’s no business case in it.

But then if you come from and say like, look, what a stressed area, you’ve got X percent of population growth, X percent of industrial growth, X percent of agricultural growth, we might have a reduction in water supply because of climate change or whatever the reason may be.

So we’re seeing, like in the foresee future, we’re seeing some stress coming up, which could happen in certain years. You can do these percentages, you can do scenario analysis, right? You can say like, we’ve got like a X percentage of you not getting so and so much water in this. figure out how, what kind of implication it has on you, your production.

And these things do happen. You do have , like in France where power companies had to produce less energy because there wasn’t enough water in the river. So these things do happen. And just being smart about your own investment, it just makes financial sense.

It’s not even just me kind of coming here as a water hippie telling you, it’d be nice to water. It’s really like, no, it’s got a financial implication on your operations if you don’t consider it,

Antoine Walter: you mentioned France, and then I promise it’s my last additional sidetrack. Within the sidetrack of the sidetrack. Just as we record France announced yesterday their plan towards 2030 when it comes to water. And one of the things which they announce is that 12th percent of the water uses today to cool down the nuclear reactors.

And they want to divide that by two. They also want to go from the 0.6% of water we used to have today, up to 10 percents. They want to cut the water leakage and all of that if you look on the paper makes a lot of sense. I’m just wondering, did they do a proper risk assessment and then came up with that plan or, yeah, 10% value reuse sounds good, so why not put it on a piece of paper.

Jennifer Möller-Gulland: I’ve got no idea what you guys did in front,

but ideally you’d be looking at like what are the risks of of having a water gap. Like what is the planning man gap in the particular area, and how much can I close in a cost effective way? It’s a benefit between like how much can you invest?

It has to make financial sense again, even in your mitigation measure. So you can’t say you’re gonna have like a zero water system, however you would manage that for millions if. You know, It doesn’t balance what’s the potential risk you’re mitigating, right? So, I mean, you should be looking at, , what is the chance of you not having water?

How much water would you not have in which percentage? Like which per, which kind of, what is the probability? And and then how much would it cost you to invest in technology to reduce your water requirement, right? And then balance the two factors and see whatever it’s cost effective and do that.

Antoine Walter: Well, Jennifer, Thank you for staying with me, despite me dragging you all over the places for the past 15 minutes. But thanks much for all the value you shared in, in that deep dive. I see so many good tracks , to do a follow up with you and to open one of the doors which just scratched on.

In that ending, I propose you to round it off by switching to the rapid fire questions

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Rapid fire questions:

Antoine Walter: and I promise you that I will keep my promise on that section, which is to have short questions aiming for short answers. And my first question is, what is the most exciting project you’ve been working on and why

Jennifer Möller-Gulland: My Mongolia project because it was my first water risk assessment.

Antoine Walter: the Ulan Bator one or the mining one

Jennifer Möller-Gulland: The national one

Antoine Walter: national one.

Can you name one thing that you’ve learned The hard.

Jennifer Möller-Gulland: Yeah, like how to assess water risks and without going into 10 million rabbit holes, I spent like hours and days of my life when unnecessary pursuit of information.

Antoine Walter: Is there something you’re doing today in your job that you will not be doing in 10 years?

Jennifer Möller-Gulland: Yeah. Somebody hit me with administrative stuff and data collection please.

Antoine Walter: That’s a fair one. What is the trend to watch out for in the water sector?

Jennifer Möller-Gulland: I think new ways to get data. With my pain point of collecting data, I don’t wanna do that in 10 years anymore. We’ve collect a lot of satellite data, ai everything coming up at the moment. It’s an exciting space to watch.

Antoine Walter: let me cheat again. there’s this book by David Lloyd Owen global Water Funding who is also a consultant for all this multilateral organization, I think is part of the 2030 Water Resource Group as well. There’s a ton of value in these books, so I’m not restricting it to one thing, but one thing which really marked me by reading the book is how limited the data is.

In most of the cases, we simply have no clue. So I guess in your position, you have to start by looking for data which doesn’t exist or which is in bulk. Some.

Jennifer Möller-Gulland: Yeah, but you know what? I switched it around. Like I got frustrated by I was saying we don’t have enough data. So I’m switching it around now to show like, what we don’t know because we don’t have data like Indonesia. I’m saying like, look, we don’t know for 75% of the population what kind of water quality they’re exposed to because there’s no measuring station.

Rather than saying we don’t know, we don’t, we’re not gonna mention it. We’re kind of highlighting the problem of the impact of not having the data, right? So we don’t know like how they affected, but we know they, they, we know they are going to be affected because the downstream of huge cities or mining areas, industrial areas that we know it’s not gonna be pristine, jungle water, but we don’t know how bad it is. And that’s the risk in itself, not knowing.

Antoine Walter: Let me bring you back to the rapid fair questions. Do you believe we will meet SDG6 by 2030?

Jennifer Möller-Gulland: No. I have to join you in your negative perspective.

Antoine Walter: So as I cited David Lloyd Owen, do you believe in his thesis that we might meet SDG6 by 2050?

Jennifer Möller-Gulland: We’re 50. I mean, we don’t wanna be too negative. I mean, 2030 is a clear No. 2050. If we change the way we think. Yes. If we don’t change the way we think. No, I think it’s a mindset issue. It’s not a complicated thing to fix, it’s just a mindset and prioritization issue.

Antoine Walter: And last question, would you have someone to recommend me that I should definitely invite as soon as possible on that micro.

Jennifer Möller-Gulland: I do I don’t know, and I think he hasn’t been on your podcast yet, but as Greg Ko, he used to be the leader for water stewardship in Coca-Cola International. . And now he is the director at E RM and he’s an amazing person to ask any question. And so I’ve had the benefit of being able to ask him any questions and he took somewhat of a mentor role during the years for me.

And whenever I have a question about private sector around anything really, he’s so knowledgeable and he’s got such a great perspective, like very varied from many different facets and it’s each time enlightening to hear his answers. So I think he would be a great conversation partner.

Antoine Walter: Well, Thanks Ed for the recommendation and I do hope he’s gonna be at least as good as you. You were know some conversation partner, so thanks a lot for sharing everything you, you did today. You’ve been one of the few guests I had on that podcast so far, which was so thoughtful with you. Homework. So I have a bunch of links to your various ways to contact you, follow up with you.

All of that is gonna be in the show notes. If there’s one of those which he wants to highlight specifically so that people really start there, or one which you wouldn’t have given me yet. That’s your chance.

Jennifer Möller-Gulland: Okay. I think you can follow me on LinkedIn. Just under my name, I think I, I try to share everything I find out on LinkedIn and if you’d like to follow the free work class Antoine mentioned it’s gonna be in the show now. There’s a great entry point to understand like how I see water risks and I do have different trainings like a crash cost training.

So we just wanna have a quick insight. It’s a very short training just to kind of tip your toe to the water, so to say. And I have a 12 week intensive training on water risk where you actually learn how to do your water risk assessment, how to communicate water risks and where you know, everything at the end of it about water risks.

Those would be the links to look at, I think.

Antoine Walter: Oh, check the show notes. Everything is there. And once again, Jennifer, thanks a lot and I hope to have a sequel conversation with you at some point.

Jennifer Möller-Gulland: Thank you so much Antwana. Thank you so much for doing the podcast. It’s great of, and part of what I mentioned, we should speak about water, we should speak about our knowledge, but thank you for giving a platform for that. That’s great.

Antoine Walter: My pleasure.

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