Hidden beneath our feet, groundwater supports the supply of drinking water, sanitation systems, agriculture, businesses like Vale and ecosystems. It is an essential resource for life on earth.
This year, on World Water Day (3/22), the UN encourages everyone to reflect on the importance of water resource management. Know more about how we treat the topic at Vale.
Good management starts with a lot of study
To start a mine in a region, it is necessary to excavate the soil. After much study of the characteristics of the site and the environmental impacts that could be caused, the work is started.
When the soil is excavated, the water table (groundwater), at a certain point, is reached, and, in order to continue excavating, the lowering of the water table is carried out, i.e., the groundwater is captured.
In addition, groundwater is also captured from supply wells and well barriers for aquifer treatment. This water is used in Vale operations and more than half of what is abstracted is supplied to surrounding populations, to water companies, and returned to the environment in streams, rivers, and lakes.
Responsibility for the whole
In order to promote water security in the regions where Vale is present, which means having sufficient quantity and quality of water available for human supply, economic activities and conservation of aquatic ecosystems, was established, in 2018, the Water Target. The commitment is to reduce freshwater abstraction by 10% for use in Vale production processes by 2030, based on 2017.
For this, we invested in expanding the water monitoring network, in initiatives for the reuse of effluents in the company’s processes, in the use of rainwater, in the search for new technologies and in the development of studies aimed at the continuous improvement of responsible management of water resources.
In 2021, the cumulative global result since the base year was a 20% reduction, which exceeded the initial objective established for 2030 (10% reduction), with emphasis on operations in the Amazon region and part of the southeast operations, with a cumulative reduction of 48%.
Water and Water Resources Policy emphasizes that when the goal is reached, new goals must be defined. The new objectives will be based on responsible management of water resources and effluents and will be published in 2022.