Several Anglo American operations are located in some of the most water-stressed regions of the world. The efficient use of water is essential for these operations, both in terms of their dependency on the resource, as well as for their social licence to operate. Water quality is an important factor for all our operations, regardless of scarcity.
During 2008, the Group used 125 million m3 of water, compared with 131 million m3 in 2007 (on a like for like basis).
Since the Company’s first ‘WaterWays Summit’ in 2007, Anglo American’s business units have been working hard to develop water strategies and action plans, mapping water footprints and measuring water balances and flows. The ultimate goal is an effective ‘One Anglo’ approach to water management.
There has been good progress on these three items. Although all business units have been measuring their water flows and water balances for some time, they have improved the integrity of their data.
Using the ‘footprint’ model, business units now have a much better understanding of their water consumption and have greater confidence in their data. Through the coming year, a set of water efficiency targets for the Group will be developed, based on this information.
Each business unit has articulated its own operational strategic approach to water management, and has begun to implement water action plans in parallel to their strategies.
The first draft of the Group Water Strategy, designed to provide broad direction and inspiration for operational water plans, was presented towards the end of 2008. In addition, an environmental steering group developed the Environment Way Water Standard, which supports the overall water management framework and which is due for roll-out in early 2009.
A major ambition for 2009 is implementing the new Group Water Strategy, as well as the water efficiency monitoring and reporting model. Along with this, each operation will be expected to set a water reduction target, and develop a water reduction plan.