We maintained our freshwater consumption rate and decreased our effluent discharge intensity.
Four of our sites use freshwater sources to produce methanol. In 2018, we consumed 14,737,143 m³ of fresh water to produce 5,502,415 tonnes of methanol. (This figure excludes ~20% returned to the source as treated wastewater.) This equates to 2.68 m³ water/tonne of methanol. Our fresh water consumption remained steady from 2017.
Of the approximately 20% of water returned to a freshwater source as treated wastewater, the ratio of discharge per tonne of methanol decreased 7%, from 0.73 m³ in 2017 to 0.68 m³ in 2018. This was mainly due to shutdowns at two of our New Zealand plants for maintenance turnaround projects.
We continue to be guided by our water stewardship standard to identify and evaluate feasible opportunities to conserve water. This is particularly important in regions where there may be water shortages. See the highlight below on using treated effluent for irrigation in Egypt, as an example of putting our stewardship standard into action.
We completed Phase 1 of a project in Damietta to reuse clean effluent from the plant for non-agricultural irrigation in the community.
In 2017, we reported that Methanex in Egypt signed an agreement with the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency (EEAA) to deliver a lasting and creative solution to the disposal of our clean effluent water by redirecting it to irrigate non-agricultural gardens in New Damietta.
This solution provides a sustainable source of irrigation water for the city of New Damietta, serving ultimately to benefit the ommunity.
In 2018, we completed phase 1 of the project: installing internal pipelines within our plant gates to pump water outside the plant. This work was accomplished successfully and safely. In the next phase, our team will work with local contractors and authorities to extend the pipelines outside our gates.
We look forward to the safe and successful completion of the project and working with the community to conserve water.