We acknowledge the human right to water access and use a catchment-based approach to our water planning which considers all relevant stakeholders.
Water availability is being affected by a combination of climate change, population growth, infrastructure planning and land use change. We are working with our communities and other stakeholders to achieve water security for our operations and address water issues within the catchments where we operate.
We have a holistic approach towards water management centred on promoting better water use, effective catchment management and improved water security, working towards catchment-level water stewardship. This is achieved by:
■ Maintaining water balances for all operations
■ Maintaining water resource forecasts in our business planning process
■ Undertaking water resource risk and opportunity analyses, which considers both operational and broader catchment aspects
We recognise the significance of water-related risks to our business and to the community. Our focus is to shift the way we think about water to a long-term, catchment-wide planning approach with integration across all areas of our business.
To achieve water security for our operations, and address potential water issues within the catchments where we operate, each operation is required to carry out a water risk and opportunity analysis process every two years. A pre-screening tool captures water-related information for every operation. A multidisciplinary team then analyses the information to identify any water-related risks and potential opportunities that would benefit the operation and the broader catchment area.
We continue to manage water-related material risk at three of our operations and further information about South Africa Aluminium, Mozal Aluminium and Worsley Alumina can be found in our Environment at South32 report here
ICMM Position Statement on Water Stewardship
As a member of the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), we were pleased to play a role in the development of the Council’s Position Statement on Water Stewardship. We are committed to meeting its goals, including:
■ Strong and transparent corporate water governance
■ Effective water operations management
■ Working with others to achieve responsible and sustainable water use
Member companies have made a commitment to implement the requirements of the Position Statement by November 2018 and, as a result, we have updated our internal standards and processes to strengthen our approach to water stewardship.
One of the key commitments of the Position Statement is to set context-based targets or objectives. We committed to establishing these for our operations with material water-related risks. The term ‘context-based’ acknowledges that local risks and considerations are specific to each water catchment, as are the timeframes to implement actions.