With water becoming an increasingly scarce resource, restrictions on its use and on the quality of the water discharged will become more and more common. As a result, Aperam has defined a 40% reduction target in terms of water consumption over 2015.
An Everyday Affair
At Aperam, our commitment to clean water is an everyday affair, one that is fully ingrained in how we operate. For example, with the aim of reducing water consumption by 40% by 2030 (over 2015 rate), we routinely monitor our water intake. We also continue to increase the amount of recycled water we use, which is currently at 95%.
After continuous decreases between 2012 and 2015, our water consumption has since stabilized, a trend once again seen in 2020:
- Total intakes were down 1.7% over 2019, but this is an increase of 3% over 2015, meaning that we missed our 2020 objective of a 5% reduction compared to the 2015 baseline.
- Of the 5% of water that we do extract, 83% comes from rivers and 7% from collected rain.
- 95.3% of our consumption came from closed circuits (i.e., recycled water), meaning that less than 5% of our water is extracted from the environment.
We also monitor the quality of the water we discharge into rivers to ensure it complies with our permits in terms of volumes, pH, temperature, particles of suspended solids, and metals in water. In 2020, we reported a total water discharge of 16,347 m3 (+6.8% from 2019), including 4.32 g/tslab of metal discharge (-1.9% from 2019) and 145.55 g/tslab of suspended solids (-23.3% from 2019).
Progress Being Made
To ensure we meet our 2030 targets, many of our sites are taking specific steps to reduce consumption.
For instance, our Timoteo plant, which accounts for the vast majority of the Group’s total consumption (75%), has rolled out an ambitious plan for achieving a 40% reduction by 2030 that involves installing a complex water circuit. In 2020, it saw a 0.5% decrease in consumption.
Furthermore, in Europe, our Imphy plant saw a 34% reduction in water use (-46% compared to the five-year average). Even though they only account for 2% of the Group’s total consumption, this is an important result for the neighboring environment and communities. Likewise, our Gueugnon plant has implemented a strategic plan to drastically reduce its use of pumped river water. With a focus on Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, a project team is currently rolling out a pilot program, with initial results expected in 2021.
To continue our progress, the Group is preparing a specific policy on water consumption. Once finalized, it will provide best practices in mapping, standardized measurement protocols, and serve as the basis for a rigorous, site-level water management plan.