Despite achieving a 14% decrease in the volume of freshwater we consumed in 2013, we experienced a 3% increase in intensity. The primary factor behind the intensity increase was idled capacity at our smelters in Brazil, which reduced the efficiency of various processes.
Our locations continued their efforts to help Alcoa reach its global goal of a 25% improvement in freshwater-use intensity by 2020 and 30% by 2030 versus 2005 levels. Compared to the baseline, the intensity at our Latin American & Caribbean locations decreased 17% through 2013.
In Jamaica, close monitoring of water use and reduced freshwater consumption due to a new runoff water storage pond resulted in a 27% decline in water use over 2012.
A water-focused partnership with Ambev at our refinery in São Luís, Brazil, earned the 2013 Environmental Benchmarking Prize from Brazil’s More Projects, Management, and Social and Environmental Training Institute.
The refinery requires approximately 1 million cubic meters (264 million gallons) of freshwater annually to replace water lost to evaporation in its production processes. That amount equaled the volume of treated wastewater the nearby Ambev brewery released to the Pedrinhas River each year. Today, a 1.9-kilometer (1.2-mile) aqueduct connects the two facilities. Ambev’s wastewater is now the refinery’s makeup water, eliminating the latter’s need to draw freshwater from wells and rainwater reservoirs and saving US$28,000 annually.
Cubic meters of water per metric ton of production
|Total Freshwater Use
Millions of cubic meters