We feel it is our responsibility to optimize water use not only in water-stressed regions of the world but in all of our facilities through conservation and reuse.
Our water management approach is based on a global mapping process that enables us to establish relative water risks in our portfolio and rank our sites based on water usage, scarcity risk and other factors. We update the ranking each year to reflect water usage changes and sites that are acquired or sold.
Our water goal, which we established in early 2016 following our most recent global mapping, is to implement management plans at facilities with the highest water-scarcity risk by 2020.
In 2016, we created and implemented a process to develop a water management plan at our Circleville, Ohio, facility, in the U.S. We intend to use the process to develop plans for three sites each year through 2020.
We ensure water consumption is a focus at all plants—not just those considered high-risk—by including the metric in each plant’s environmental scorecard. This increases visibility into our water use at the local, regional and global level and also encourages our employees to remain engaged and committed to conserving this valuable resource.
Because much of the water we use is for equipment cleaning, we are improving our processes to require less cleaning. We are also evaluating opportunities to reuse wash water in our processes and products.
Our water usage intensity in 2016 was 3.85 cubic meters per metric ton of production, which equals a 9 percent reduction compared to 2015 and a 21 percent decline since 2012.
Excluding our flat glass and European fiber glass businesses, which we sold in 2016, our total water consumption was 4.21 cubic meters per metric ton of production. This represents a 14 percent decline over 2015 and a 3 percent increase since 2012.
We continued to participate in a Water Environment and Reuse Foundation project to develop a framework that assists in the initiation and implementation of onsite industrial water reuse. In 2016, this effort resulted in the finalization of the research publication A Framework for the Successful Implementation of On-site Industrial Water Reuse, which features projects from our Huntsville and Batavia locations in the U.S. We are also participating in the next phase of the project to develop practical tools to assist with the development and justification of industrial water reuse and reduction projects.