Today, the availability and quality of fresh water is a major concern in large parts of the world and the management of water resources is considered the most important sustainability challenge after climate change.
As a large industrial user of water, the steel industry takes its responsibilities for water management seriously and is constantly evaluating how best to use water, finding improvements both in conservation and reuse.
By increasing water recycling and cascading water use from higher to lower quality, steel producers have been able to reduce their water use and consumption considerably. On average, 90% of the water used is returned to source either at the same level of quality or cleaner.
However, water issues and how they are managed at specific steel plants vary greatly due to local conditions such as water availability, water quality, plant configuration and legislation.
In order for worldsteel members to share good practices and to learn from each other worldsteel organised a workshop on water management hosted by JSW Steel and the Indian Steel Association on March 20-21 at the JSW plant in Vijayanagar, India.
The workshop gathered over 50 experts from 20 steel companies from around the world who all shared their experience and good practices. The themes for the workshop were zero liquid discharge (ZLD), water quality and water footprint. The presentations ranged from being very technical to more holistic where water management was framed within the context of sustainability.
The lively discussions proved that the subject of water concerns us all and covered a variety of topics from groundwater contamination to the legal requirement to achieve zero liquid discharge. The purpose of zero liquid discharge policies is to reduce usage by encouraging recirculation. ZLD systems employ the most advanced wastewater treatment technologies to purify and recycle virtually all of the wastewater produced.
The feedback we received was very encouraging with participants expressing the wish for further workshops on water management to be organised as they had clearly found the discussions and presentations beneficial. The workshop was followed by a visit to the impressive water treatment facilities at the JSW plant, which is a zero liquid discharge plant.
Do share with us any interesting water management initiatives of which you are aware, in the steel industry or in other industries.
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