The way we manage and handle water is complex and specific to the environments we operate in. While we continue to reduce the mains water consumption, its becoming as important to better understand and manage the local impact of water withdrawal and discharges at sites.
How do we use water?
We utilise water in a number of ways:
- To wash aggregates
- For onsite dust suppression
- Within our production process.
We also move significant quantities of water during dewatering as an integral part of the mineral extraction process. We recognise that industrial processes are not the best use of potable water and one of our key responsibilities as a custodian of the water environment is to manage our operations effectively.
In 2013, project capital was granted to review and install meters at all withdrawal (covering abstraction, quarry dewatering and mains water) and discharge points across the business in response to proposals for changes to UK water abstraction licensing, Holcim Directive for water measurement and to gain a more detailed analysis of our water management practices and water footprint. Following an initial review of all site activities, we identified the priority sites for metering, with a view that all significant withdrawal and discharge points will be metered with reporting centrally from 2015. This will improve the measurement and reporting of water, as well as our understanding of consumption patterns. We intend to generate our baseline water footprint during 2015.
Reducing water usage
We are working to reduce our mains water for non-critical consumptions. Where possible it is preferred to use untreated groundwater, rainwater and recycling of waste water on-site.The introduction of the EU Water Framework Directive is expected to bring a significant change in the use and management of water in our operations. We have engaged with key stakeholders, internally and externally, to ensure that we are well positioned to manage our activities in the future. As a result individual water management plans have to be completed for each of our sites.
Recycled water is collected and used with our operations where practical, for example for washing vehicles, concrete manufacture and dust suppression. Whilst some sites do monitor the quantity of recycled/ harvested water used, the metering project will bring enable us to better understand opportunities to improve rainwater capture and recycling across the business.
Our commitment and goals
- Meter all water abstractions and discharges across all operational sites whilst maintaining and reviewing water management plans at all sites
- Generate company water balance from 2015 and set efficiency targets going forward for high risk sites first.
View our peformance for water management