IndiaCSR News Network
Mumbai, India, November 2014: Vedanta’s SSLT, a global diversified natural resources company has, during FY 2013-14, through its subsidiaries undertaken water conservation efforts which successfully led to nearly 44 million cubic meters (MCM) of water recycling in India, Australia and Africa. The total water saving for the year amounts to 2.52 MCM.
The group recognizes the value of water as an increasing global concern and is conscious of the impact of its use in mining, smelting and refining and at their power plants. While some of its operations are located in areas where access to water is a huge challenge, the company has a consistent approach towards water management across all its subsidiaries and has a clearly stated water policy.
Importantly, the company ensures that local communities are always able to access fresh water. “We recycled 44 MCM of water, which is 24% of water requirement in our operations. None of the natural water sources are affected by the company’s water withdrawal as all operations withdraw less than 5% of the source,” says Tom Albanese, Group CEO Vedanta, adding that none of these water sources is designated as a protected area, either nationally or internationally.
The subject of water management is considered pivotal in the decision-making process of new and existing projects. All Vedanta group companies conduct a basic water screening assessment to identify sensitive water resources, aquatic habitats and any known or suspected water resource constraints in proximity to each operation. Accordingly, the Water Resources Management Plan (WRMP) is prepared to eliminate, minimize, mitigate and manage impacts on water resources.
The iron ore division of the Vedanta group has for many years met its water requirement through harvesting rain water. Similar initiatives have been taken by Hindustan Zinc Limited (HZL), a subsidiary of Vedanta’s SSLT, Sterlite Copper in Tuticorin and SSLT’s aluminium division at Lanjigarh & Jharsuguda and. In addition to these initiatives, effluent and sewage treatment plants are installed at many locations for reusing water at primary locations. Last year, HZL installed its first adiabatic cooling towers (ACTs) replacing the conventional cooling towers. ACTs reduce water wastage by almost 80% by operating in a closed circuit.
Some of the other operations have installed Reverse Osmosis Plants so that the treated water can be utilized for high end applications and helps to conserve raw water being used in those areas. They have installed very precise electromagnetic type water flow meters across all areas so that the entire water balance in the plant is managed scientifically.
Another subsidiary of Vedanta’s SSLT, Cairn India in Rajasthan ensures that its activities do not pose any risk to the fresh water resource of the region. It utilises the abundant supply of sub-surface saline water to meet its operational and domestic water needs, with water required for injection into the reservoir to maintain hydrocarbon reservoir pressure.
Vedanta SSLT’s aluminum and power operations in Chattisgarh, BALCO, has improved the reliability of the dyke water recirculation pumps which has resulted in the total saving of 200 cubic metres of water per day.
The company’s operations have been designed to be ‘zero discharge’ facilities, where the generated waste water is treated and completely recycled into process areas for cooling and other applications. Vedanta SSLT’s Lanjigarh refinery in Odisha, India is the first refinery in India with a zero discharge system which helps reduce usage of external water by more than 60%.
The Vedanta group of which SSLT (Sesa Sterlite Limited) is a direct subsidiary has recycled in total 60 MCM of water. This is equivalent to one fourth of the total water requirement in the group’s operations.