Water is an essential ingredient for the hydration of cement and is an important resource for concrete and its materials supply chain.
Mains water consumption as a proportion of production output (litres/tonne)
The industry indicator reports mains water in litres per tonne of concrete used directly in concrete production added to a proportioned contribution from raw materials production.
The annual indicator continues to show a trend of reduction of mains water per tonne of concrete produced with the 2017 value at 69.7 litres/tonne, the lowest figure since reporting started in 2008, and an equivalent value of 74.2 litres/tonne for concrete + reinforcement.
Permeable concrete and concrete block paving (shown above) can be used to reduce, attenuate and treat surface water as part of a sustainable drainage solution (SuDS). The water can then be used within the landscape to enhance biodiversity. Image courtesy of Interpave - www.paving.org.uk
Water consumption is a complex issue in relation to minerals extraction as processing often involves water, but there is a high degree of recycling such that measurement of water ‘consumed’ is relatively difficult to establish accurately.
As a result of these complexities, data currently being collected on the use of controlled water, such as boreholes and rivers, is regarded as being insufficiently reliable to be reported with confidence or to provide a baseline for target setting. An additional complexity is the variability of the impact of water extraction across geographical areas of the UK, as different regions exhibit varying periods of water stress (where the accepted level of demand for fresh water is greater than availability).
The MPA has developed a water strategy based on both reducing consumption and prioritising the types of water used. The concrete industry is developing more specific guidance supporting this policy with the aim of improving understanding of overall water consumption, how it can be measured and managed and how performance improvements be achieved. Read the MPA Water Policy here.
Further information on the water indicator can be found in the full report.
These indicators are part of the Biodiversity & Water section of the report and 2020 Commitments. An update on our Biodiversity and Water 2020 Commitments.