Mar 18, 2016
World Water Day is celebrated on March 22. Although roughly 70 percent of our planet is covered with water, it is increasingly becoming a scarce resource. The United Nations has defined the access to clean water as one of their 17 Sustainable Development Goals. BASF supports the SDGs and is committed to a responsible use of water along the entire value chain.
Water is of fundamental importance in chemical production. It is used as a coolant, solvent and cleaning agent, as well as to make our products. BASF is committed to its responsible use in our production sites’ water catchment areas, and along the entire value chain. We have set ourselves a global goal for sustainable water management. The focus lies on 70 global sites, where water is especially scarce, as well as on all Verbund sites. Sustainable water management means considering this topic from all aspects, including societal implications. This includes the influence that the sites’ water use has on their environment inside and outside of the sites. By auditing our sites the identification of savings potential in order to use as little water as possible, particularly in water stress areas, is also facilitated.
BASF recirculates water as much as is feasible in order to withdraw less from supply sources. Our larger sites have recooling plants that allow water to be reused several times and that reduce the temperature of used cooling water before it is discharged back into a body of water. The supply, treatment, transportation and recooling of water is associated with a high energy demand. BASF employs various means in our efforts to keep this as low as possible and is constantly working to optimize its energy consumption and the amount of water used, and to adapt to the needs of its business and the environment.
Different products and solutions provided by BASF help purify water, use it more efficiently and reduce pollution. One example is Sokalan®, a dispersing agent that prevents buildup of deposits. That way the durability of seawater desalination plants is prolonged enabling them to produce more drinking water. Seawater desalination plants make an important contribution to supplying the world’s population with water. The Middle East’s dry climate, for example, makes the region particularly dependent on this technology. The largest desalination plant in the United Arab Emirates is located in Jebel Ali. BASF supplies it with more than 3,000 metric tons of Sokalan® PM 15l per year; this product prevents the buildup of deposits, emerging from desalination, enabling the plant to generate up to 2 million cubic meters of desalinated water each day.
Lab manager for applications engineering, BASF global business unit Paper and Water Chemicals
“My team deals with issues relating to the production of drinking water on a daily basis – for example through the use of special desalination plants. Thermal plants around the world heat sea water to obtain fresh drinking water from the vapors. However, this leads to limescale deposits which settle in the plant, and which must then be eliminated via complex procedures on a regular basis. Various additives from BASF, so-called deposit inhibitors, such as Sokalan®, help to prevent such deposits, increase the running time of the desalination plants while enhancing their energy efficiency. This means that more water can be produced with the same amount of energy. In this way we support our customers around the world in obtaining drinking water.”
Dr. Brigitte Dittrich-Krämer
Sustainability Relations at BASF
“I deal with the topic of water in the context of sustainability. This in particular includes interactions with various stakeholders. Every year, the investor organization CDP, for example, assesses the largest listed companies in terms of their water management. This really helps us to satisfy the expectations of both our investors and our customers who want to know how we deal with water. For the assessment for example the following questions are important: How efficient do we use water in our production? How do we minimize the risks associated with water scarcity? Are our products doing their share, for example, in producing drinking water around the world? What business opportunities in the area of water are we taking advantage of? BASF received an excellent rating from CDP in 2015. This year's questionnaire is now available online, and my efforts in responding to the complex questions will involve working together with many specialized units at BASF over the coming three months.”
Biological laboratory technician, Global Ecotoxicololgy BASF Crop Protection
“Our task in the area of ecotoxicology or environmental research is to critically test possible negative impacts of our substances on the environment. We do this at a very early stage before the products are brought to the market. Our target is to make sure that our products do not endanger a healthy and biodiverse environment. My work here focuses on aquatic organisms. Agriculture often takes place close to bodies of water. Therefore it is crucial to test how our products affect water organisms. In the event that crop protection products enter the environment or bodies of water, we need to ensure right from the beginning that the ecosystem with all its aquatic plants, algae, insects and fish will not be impaired. I carry out tests with these organisms and take water samples in order to find out the threshold concentration up to which there is no effect on water organisms.”
European Marketing Manager Waterproofing & Sealants, BASF Construction Chemicals
“I work for the European Waterproofing team and we develop and market waterproofing materials. These sealants help to prevent that water escapes form huge concrete tanks, for example in wastewater plants, or penetrates into structures where it shouldn’t go. As water is a scarce resource, the use of these materials becomes more and more important. Concrete tends to move and crack due to changes in temperature, humidity and other internal factors. Our task is to prevent water losses caused by these unavoidable movements with the help of our waterproofing membranes and systems. Furthermore we ensure to maintain drinking water quality and avoid possible water contamination. “
Manager Marketing Communications & Branding, BASF South Asia
"My close work with water and my research on it started in 2014 within the context of the 150 year celebrations of BASF. As a part of the communications team I was also part of the planning and execution team for Creator Space Mumbai which has been the first tour stop. Being an ever growing megacity, Mumbai has its unique water challenges. I was involved in supporting to identify people and associations working in the field of water, connecting with various individuals, associations and government bodies working in this field. I then supported getting them on board for BASF Creator Space either as a speaker, a panelist or a participant who then took part in the water summit, collaborating to find solutions for Mumbai's water challenges. Post this I had the opportunity to work on the BASF white paper and also on the landmark proposal from India for global funding. This gave me a chance to do some ground research on Mumbai and its water situation and identify solutions."