Water

Water

We use water as efficiently as possible and work to ensure that our emissions to water are constantly being reduced. More than 90 percent of our annual water requirement is used in cooling processes. Most of this cooling water is just heated, and can subsequently be fed back into the water system without the need for treatment. We take care to ensure that the temperature reached does not pose any risk to the surrounding ecosystem. The rest of the water we use is applied to production, used as a source of steam or in office buildings. We employ closed-loop systems as a means of reducing our water consumption, as these enable water to be used several times.

Water balance
Water in the Linde Group (graphic)
1 More than 98% of the water used at Linde’s sites comes from surface water, sea water or ground water sources which do not meet drinking water quality standards. Less than 2% of the demand at Linde’s sites is covered by water which meets drinking water quality standards.
2 More than 92% of the water used in Linde’s processes is used for cooling purposes, including once-through cooling water and sea water. Less than 8% of the water used in Linde’s processes is consumed in the process or discharged into the sewerage system after use.
3 More than 95% of the water discharged is unpolluted cooling water which can be fed back into the water system without need for further treatment. Less than 5% of the discharged water is piped to a waste water treatment plant or facility: e.g. boiler blowdown, purge from cooling towers, and sanitary foul water.

Total water use in 2016 was 716 million cubic metres (2015: 681 million cubic metres). Of this amount, water consumption excluding once-through water was 54.8 million cubic metres (2015: 52.6 million cubic metres). The amount of waste water at all our locations worldwide in 2016 was 13.1 million cubic metres (2015: 13.8 million cubic metres). The increase in our water use over the past few years reflects the expansion of our business operations. Fluctuations in demand for our products and changes in capacity utilisation at individual plants may also have an impact on our water use. In addition, warm weather conditions may increase our use of cooling water. We also measure emissions of phosphates, nitrates and organic compounds to water in accordance with local regulatory requirements.

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Water1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2016

 

2015

 

2014

 

2013

Geprüft von KPMG

Assured by KPMG

1

In line with the information in the Financial Report 2016, the figures provided for the years 2015 and 2016 exclude the business of the logistics service provider Gist, as it has been reported as a discontinued operation.

2

Water consumption relates to drinking water and industrial water used. Once-through water is drawn from a natural or other sources, solely warmed and ultimately piped back to the original source at a temperature not posing any risk to the surrounding ecosystem.

Water use Geprüft von KPMG

million m3

 

716

 

681

 

682

 

681

of which ground and surface waterGeprüft von KPMG

%

 

98.7

 

98.6

 

98.5

 

98.6

of which drinking waterGeprüft von KPMG

%

 

1.3

 

1.4

 

1.5

 

1.4

Total water consumption2 Geprüft von KPMG

million m3

 

54.8

 

52.6

 

50.7

 

44.5

of which industrial and process waterGeprüft von KPMG

million m3

 

45.3

 

42.8

 

40.8

 

34.8

of which drinking waterGeprüft von KPMG

million m3

 

9.5

 

9.8

 

9.9

 

9.7

Waste waterGeprüft von KPMG

million m3

 

13.1

 

13.8

 

13.2

 

13.8

Initiatives for efficient use of water

In 2016, we reviewed water supplies at our key production sites worldwide for the first time on the basis of the criteria set out by the World Resources Institute. Based on these criteria, 9 percent of our sites are in regions which experience water scarcity. The measures we are taking to optimise the use of water and cooling water systems focus in particular on those regions. At four sites in Eastern Europe, Asia and South America, potential savings were identified in 2016 of around 440,000 cubic metres of water, which would lead to cost savings of around EUR 70,000 annually. Furthermore, during the reporting year, we conducted information campaigns in Africa and in the Middle East on the economical use of water, which reached more than 3,000 of our employees.

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Emissions to water (in tonnes)1,2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2016

 

2015

 

2014

 

2013

Geprüft von KPMG

Assured by KPMG

1

In line with the information in the Financial Report 2016, the figures provided for the years 2015 and 2016 exclude the business of the logistics service provider Gist, as it has been reported as a discontinued operation.

2

In 2015, we have further improved the determination method for emissions to water (COD, BOD, nitrates, phosphates) applying measurement and extrapolation models. Although there are inherent limitations by applying this methodology, full measurement of these emissions by all Linde sites is considered economically not viable. The reported figures of the water emission indicators of the Linde Group therefore serve as an approximation. The figures for 2014 have been restated accordingly.

Chemical oxygen demand (COD)Geprüft von KPMG

 

 

1,561

 

1,425

 

1,585

 

2,157

Biochemical oxygen demand (BOD)Geprüft von KPMG

 

 

511

 

496

 

544

 

163

NitratesGeprüft von KPMG

 

 

339

 

335

 

295

 

89

PhosphatesGeprüft von KPMG

 

 

45

 

47

 

39

 

3

Products for water protection

Our gases and technologies are used to eliminate harmful substances in drinking water and bodies of water and to treat waste water. They also enable us to support our industrial customers in meeting demanding environmental regulations. With the help of Linde’s Solvocarb® process, our customers were able to bring around 850 million cubic metres of water in just six countries up to drinking water quality in 2016. During the reporting year, our Solvox® process was used for example in Australia to enrich the water of the Canning River in Perth with 260,000 cubic metres of oxygen, thus contributing to the conservation of the surrounding ecosystem. The process is also being used successfully in the desalination of rivers. In Norway, we received an award for a new Solvox solution for supplying oxygen to sea cages used in fish farming in 2016.