Drinking water supply is a socially critical function and a prerequisite for both public health and economic growth. The drinking water system is exposed to threats and challenges that affect delivery security. Many companies are dependent on water and an interruption in water supply can cause major problems, which has been quantified in this study
During 2019-2020, RISE together with VTI conducted a survey to map how Swedish companies are affected financially in the event of an interruption in the water supply. The aim of the study was to contribute to a better planning and investment basis for water producers, water-dependent businesses and authorities, as well as to increase knowledge and awareness of the consequences of a water outage.
The survey gathered data from 1405 companies throughout Sweden. To find out how companies are financially affected by various length of water outages, we asked them to state what proportion of their value added they could maintain in the event of interruptions lasting 2 hours, 4 hours, 12 hours, 24 hours, 1 week and 1 month.
Figures 1 and 2 show how the value added of companies in the various industries decreases the longer the interruption lasts. 100% value added here means normal operations and at time 0 there is an interruption in ordinary water supply. It is average values per industry that are shown in the figure and as you can see, the hotel and restaurant industry is affected very hard and in the manufacturing industry, the food industry and the chemical industry are affected the hardest.
The information on how the companies are affected (loss in value added and recovery time) has then been used to produce resilience factors for each industry and interruption length. These factors can in turn be used to estimate the socio-economic costs of supply disruptions, when prioritizing risk reduction measures and as support in the dialogue between companies and water producers on emergency water planning.
The study also collected and analyzed information on, among other things, reasons why companies choose to reduce or close operations in the event of water outages, planned and implemented measures, alternative water sources and whether the company has experienced water outages in the past five years.
SVU 2021-19 (pdf, 2.86 MB)