Planet – Water use
Reducing pressure on quality water
Water is essential for all forms of life on earth. Only one-millionth of all the world’s water is fit for human use in its natural state. Conservation of this precious natural resource, or ‘blue gold’, begins with its judicious use.
The chemicals, plastics and life sciences industry is an important industrial water user: 90% of the water used by the sector in Belgium is surface water and is used mainly as a coolant for industrial processes. Cooling water that is returned to the source of the surface water is warmer than it was before being used. Water is also used as a raw material, as a cleaning agent or to purify atmospheric emissions. Potentially polluted industrial wastewater is only discharged after being purified in wastewater treatment plants.
In 2014, the sector used 885 million m³ of water in total. The industry invests in reducing the pressure on quality water sources by closing water circuits and by switching to surface water. In 2014, drinking water accounted for 6% of the total water used by the sector and groundwater for just 2%.