Sustainable Agriculture Initiative Platform
The global food value chain initiative for sustainable agriculture

Farm Water Assessment

The Farm Water Assessment is a new easy-to-use tool for on-farm use by farm managers, developed by SAI Platform.

The tool is intended for water specific risk assessment on farms where water issues are already known or perceived to be important, and not for every site, or to replace generic farm assessment tools.

The Excel-based tool sets out, in plain language, the key components of knowledge required for reliable risk assessment, followed by the risk assessment itself. Its clear visual presentation of the results, also serves as a powerful communication tool for engagement between a farm and its supply chain customers.

The concept behind the tool is explained in a plain language SAI Platform publication: ‘Farm and catchment level assessments’ (2015, in 5 pages plus short appendices). This work is a follow up to SAI Platform’s first ‘Water stewardship in sustainable agriculture’ publication, titled ‘Beyond the farm towards a catchment approach’ (2013). 

The on-farm study has three basic steps: (1) Gather the knowledge; (2) Carry out a risk assessment, first on risks TO the farm, and second, on risks FROM the farm to others; (3) Apply appropriate risk mitigation. Visual ‘before and after’ radar charts allow the user to clearly follow and communicate progress in knowledge gathering and risk mitigation. 

The target audience includes food & beverage sustainability managers who wish to engage in a straightforward and practical way with their supply chain farmers. The main business case for farms is that it is a cost-effective way to better understand water-related risk to their business, and to help guide them on risk reduction and mitigation. This will improve business confidence for themselves and their customers.

How to use the Farm Water Assessment tool?

Print off the indicator tables as A4 – size hard copy from Excel sheets

1. Knowledge

> 1st Assessment:

  • • Use the hard copy ‘Knowledge’ sheets on site to record the appropriate score for each indicator
  • • Enter results in Excel sheet 4 (‘1st Assessment’ column) to generate a BEFORE chart.   
  • Collect new data/information, focusing on ‘low score’ indicators. May require expert support.

> 2nd Assessment:

  • • Repeat the above process, entering new results in ‘2nd Assessment’ column to generate the AFTER chart. When satisfied with level of knowledge (mostly green chart), commence risk assessment process.

2 & 3. Risks TO/FROM farm

> 1st Assessment:

  • • Use the hard copy ‘Risk’ sheets on site, and then enter scores in Excel sheets 5 and 6 (‘1st Assessment’ column) to generate the BEFORE charts.   
  • • Apply risk reduction/mitigation actions focusing on ‘high score’ indicators. May require expert support and/or investments.

> 2nd Assessment:

  • • Following risk mitigation actions, repeat the above process to generate the AFTER charts, with a target of reducing risk (and amount of red). This may follow a process of continuous improvement rather than a ‘one-off’ process.