Issues related to water management are becoming increasingly critical in the lives of societies and companies, and require a permanent change in operations. Water management principles are similar to those followed in waste management; critical is reducing fresh water intake, the reuse and recycling of water and responsible water emissions (reductions and impact assessments).
Refining and PetChem are dominant in water withdrawals
We can achieve better performance as the result of the development of technology. Taking this opportunity we achieved significant results in decreasing total water withdrawals by one third in the last 2 years when compared to the baseline (without INA Group and IES). In order to maintain this positive trend we have to become familiar with the actual BAT (BAT = Best Available Technique) requirements and improve our benchmarking system which must integrate all industrial KPIs as well. Similar requirements must be transferred to newly-integrated companies like INA Group and IES as well.
There are no significant changes in the amount of emitted contaminants but the performance of INA and IES modified the effluent data results. A new data item is the ecotoxicity, persistence and bioaccumulation tests of final effluents for the Hungarian and the Slovakian refineries to assess the ecological impacts of the refineries. This trend fits the requirements of so-called Whole Effluent Assessment. We found that persistent organics of effluents have a strong potential to accumulate and make the discharged wastewater moderately ecotoxic.
Climate change and Hungary: Mitigating the hazard and preparing for the impacts (The “VAHAVA” report).
As an important input for assessing the general environment, the so-called ‘VAHAVA’ report (issued in Hungary) calls attention to the fact that the practice of “fighting the floods” should be replaced with the principle of “living with the floods” in the areas in which we operate. As a result, action plans for extreme weather situations should be reflected in the operational regulations of our facilities and plants.
Overview – The Water Situation in Pakistan
In our international overview we share information about our operations in Pakistan where the long term availability of water sources has become a strategic issue.
Pakistan’s current population of 141 million is expected to grow to about 221 million by the year 2025. This increase in population will have a direct impact on the ability of the water sector to meet domestic, industrial and agricultural needs. Pakistan has now essentially exhausted its available water resources and is on the verge of becoming a water deficit country. Per capita water availability has dropped from 5,600 cubic meters to 1,000 meters. The quality of groundwater and surface-water is low and is further deteriorating because of unchecked disposal of untreated municipal and industrial wastewater and excessive use of fertilizers and insecticides.
Generally, water availability is assessed during environmental assessment (EIA/IEE) studies for each new project. In our last focused analysis we found that several of our production facilities are located in areas which have limited groundwater, but no water is being extracted from the surroundings of these sites. Other facilities where water is extracted are not water stressed areas. In these cases – independent from the present water status – we maintain records of water extraction from various sources and maintain records of water consumption at production sites.
We have not so far faced any major conflict with any stakeholder regarding water resources. However, in the case of complaints from local communities regarding water contamination, an environmental investigation is conducted by field SD & HSE officers or third party environmental consultants and a chemical & microbiological analysis of water is carried out. It has been established that no water source has been contaminated so far due to MOL’s Pakistan operations.
More information about water management can be found in MOL Group’s Annual Reports: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013.