In FY2017, we announced a five-year Group-wide water target and longer-term goal. The five-year target is to reduce FY2022 freshwater withdrawal1 by 15 per cent from FY20172 levels. The target was developed taking account of each asset’s circumstances and focused on the use of freshwater as it is generally the most important water resource for communities and the environment.
Our longer-term goal is to collaborate to enable integrated water resource management in all catchments where we operate by FY2030. It is aligned to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 6 that seeks to ‘ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all’.
Freshwater withdrawal increased 9 per cent in FY2019 compared to FY2018. However, overall we remain on track to attain the 15 per cent reduction target by FY2022, with FY2019 withdrawals 1 per cent below the FY2017 adjusted baseline, as shown below.
Reductions in freshwater continued as a result of increased throughput of the desalination plant at Escondida and the subsequent reduced reliance on the region’s aquifers. The most material increase in water withdrawal was at WAIO, due to increases in production and water required for dust suppression and ore processing.