Evaluating the Sustainability of Global Water Supply Chains

By Benita M. Beamon and Katherine Anderegg.

Published by The International Journal of Environmental Sustainability

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Based on United Nations (UN) estimates, approximately one billion people in the world lack access to clean drinking water, and over three million people die from waterborne diseases each year. These problems are expected to increase, with the UN estimating that by the year 2025, 2.8 billion people will experience freshwater stress or scarcity. This paper considers the problem of water sustainability from the supply chain point of view—in terms of water sourcing, collection and storage, treatment, and distribution. In particular, this paper identifies the different structural types of global water supply chain systems and evaluates the sustainability of each supply chain type on the bases of two different definitions of system sustainability, highlights the advantages and disadvantages of each type, and provides recommendations based on the analysis.

Keywords: Supply Chain, Water, Sustainability

The International Journal of Environmental Sustainability, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp.15-26. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 897.341KB).

Dr. Benita M. Beamon

Associate Professor, Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA

Dr. Benita Beamon is an Associate Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the University of Washington. She holds a Ph.D. in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Georgia Tech, with an emphasis in production, distribution, and material handling and a minor in Environmental Policy. She received an M.S. in Operations Research from Cornell University and a B.S. in Industrial Engineering and Management Sciences from Northwestern University. Her primary research applications lie in the areas of sustainable supply chain management and humanitarian relief. She has worked as a project engineer for Rosemount, Inc., the RAND Corporation, and Merck, and has led research projects for LensCrafters, Hudson Specialty Foods, Medtronics, Flow International Corporation, the United Way, and the National Science Foundation. She currently serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management.

Katherine Anderegg

Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA

Katherine Anderegg is an undergraduate senior in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the University of Washington. Her academic interests lie in the areas of discrete-event and multi-agent simulation. Her research focuses on developing simulation-based tools for analyzing the sustainability of water supply systems.