Climate change is affecting water access around the world, including in California where severe drought and water shortages persist.
As a company, we are working on responsible stewardship and sustainable use of water in our operations and at our facilities, as described in our water policy. This commitment aligns with UN SDG 6 – to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. Our efforts include:
- Integrating climate-related water risks into our construction and business resumption plans;
- Planning projects in a way that tries to avoid sensitive riparian areas;
- Using dry-cooling, recycled or reclaimed water and salt or brackish water as an alternative to fresh water;
- Monitoring water quality discharge at the facility level, according to permitting and other regulatory requirements;
- Reducing water consumption in employee occupied facilities; and
- Encouraging customers to reduce their use of this resource.
Additional information on our approach to water is available in our response to CDP’s water survey.
We regularly monitor our water use and associated risks. Many of our facilities are located in water-stressed areas, as identified through the World Resources Institute’s Aqueduct water risk mapping tool. Our use of fresh water is minimal, accounting for less than 1% of our total water withdrawn.
We use alternative sources of water to preserve fresh water for nearby communities and reduce any contribution to water scarcity. Water use by LNG regasification and natural gas-fired power plants account for nearly 93% and 7%, respectively, of our total water withdrawal. The water withdrawn to support these LNG operations is seawater, utilized to raise the temperature of LNG and re-gasify it. There are multiple processes to monitor water temperature and help ensure sea life is not impacted by either the withdrawal or discharge process. The water does not come into contact with any product and is returned to the sea in compliance with the corresponding discharge permits. At our natural gas-fired power plants we use municipal wastewater and dry cooling technology to reduce our impacts.
Our operating companies are working actively to manage water use. As one example, by 2030, SDG&E aims to:
- Increase recycled water use to at least 90% at all company facilities.
- Reduce facilities freshwater use by 50% (against a 2010 baseline) by investing in low-flow/waterless fixtures, rainfall and water recovery systems and drought-tolerant landscaping.
In 2021, our total water withdrawal decreased by 1% to approximately 28 billion gallons as a result of less withdrawal at our LNG operations in Mexico. We returned 92% of the water withdrawn to the source.