Water management

We are committed to responsible use of water and save water wherever possible. We achieve a further reduction in our emissions into water. A good water supply is crucial for smooth production processes because water is one of the most important auxiliaries used in the chemical industry.

The Evonik Group strives to use water as efficiently as possible. Following the introduction of our new water target, our main focus initially is on sites in regions that are sensitive to water stress. Taking into account projections for the climate and socio-economic developments, we have identified sites that are particularly likely to be affected by water stress in the next 20 years. At these sites, we aim to take specific preventive action by developing site-specific action plans. That includes exploring alternative cooling systems or transportation options and options to reduce the use of process water. To reflect the special significance
of freshwater, we take into account surface water, groundwater, and drinking water.

Evonik mainly uses water for cooling, for process purposes in production facilities, and to generate steam in power plants. To reduce the use of freshwater, we have established integrated supply systems with graduated water qualities. For example, we use water that is no longer suitable for cooling purposes to rinse filters or in industrial cleaning processes. In addition, the water that evaporates from cooling circuits is often replaced by condensate or recycled drinking water. In accordance with ISO 14046, the intake of sea water for cooling purposes at our methionine facility in Singapore is not taken into account in our overview of
our water footprint; however, it is reported separately. Water stress analysis is an important element in water management.

Water stress is a condition that was originally used to describe the impact of water shortages on living organisms such as plants. It is increasingly being used with reference to the availability of water for industrial processes.

Water Data

In our water stress analysis in 2018, we looked at the availabilityof water for industrial purposes in the next two decades at 107 sites. In all, we identified 26 Evonik sites on four continents where water is in short supply. In the reporting period, we selected the worst affected sites and conducted detailed local
interviews. These will be used as a starting point for developing specific action plans.
Evonik sourced a total of 534 million m3 of water and discharged 522 million m3. The difference of 12 million m3 between water intake (including water consumption) and discharge mainly comprises water used to replace evaporation losses. Around 97 percent (1,565 million m3) of our total water intake (including water
consumption) was for cooling purposes in energy generatio and production. Only 3 percent (52 million m3) was used for production purposes. Water used in closed cooling circuits is included when calculating the proportion of total water used for cooling and the evaporation losses.