We strive to continuously improve water efficiency and reduce our potable water consumption.
The use of water is a key component in managing our operations at Port Waratah. Our approach is to collect all water where possible, including rainwater that falls within an operational area of our site, and redirect it to our storages for reuse. During periods of low or no rainfall, Port Waratah buys additional water to supplement our operational water requirements through Hunter Water’s potable supply. Once used onsite for operations, the purchased potable water is recaptured and reused as process water.
Our objective is to continually improve our potable water efficiency and reduce our overall consumption from potable supplies. We set an annual target to reduce the amount of potable water use year on year and decreased our rolling three-year average.
How weather affects water use
The challenge in meeting our water use targets is the influence of weather. The weather and seasonal variations impact on our process water availability and consumption. Our objective is to continually improve our potable water efficiency, and reduce our overall consumption from potable supplies.
Rainfall patterns are largely influenced by temperature and relative humidity, but also by larger scale multiple year phenomena such as the El Niño Southern Oscillation cycle (ENSO). ENSO varies over periods of two to seven years, alternating between El Niño, neutral and La Niña phases, depending on Pacific Ocean surface temperatures measured at the Equator.
The El Niño phase results in an increased probability of lower rainfall and warmer temperatures in eastern Australia. In combination, this may lead to reduced rainfall able to be harvested in our water management system, and an increase in operational demand for water for dust management.
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