Water is at the heart of sustainable development, which is fundamental for socio-economic development, energy and food production, ecosystems and human survival. With this in mind, at Endesa we have identified water as a strategic and critical resource, aware that it represents a crucial part of adapting to climate change as well as a decisive link between society and the environment. According to The United Nations Officer for Disaster Risk Reduction in the report "The human cost of weather catastrophes", 90% of natural disasters are water-related.
Goal 6 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is to ensure that water and sanitation are available to everybody as well as being sustainably managed; however according to forecasts from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), unless new policies are adopted as soon as possible, by 2050 almost half of the world's population will live in areas under severe water stress.
At Endesa, to preserve this resource, we have incorporated the Sustainable Development Goals approved by the UN into our business strategy and our governance system, and we constantly update our corporate strategy in relation to water, striving to ensure the efficient and sustainable use of water resources, following the commitment we assumed in our environmental policy:
- We seek efficiency and sustainability in the use of water.
- We control its consumption and ensure the optimal management of water thanks to our environmental management systems.
- We promote its reuse and return it to the environment in adequate conditions to guarantee its subsequent uses.
- We avoid contamination.
As part of all our activities at both hydroelectric power plants, which use water to produce renewable energy, and those that use other technologies (thermal and nuclear). We also focus on continuously improving waste water control and preserving the ecological status of reservoirs and associated regulated river sections. Through cooperation with basin organisations, more water is available for other purposes such as irrigation, water supply or conservation of ecosystems and caring for natural capital.
We are aware of the impact that our activities can have on the water environment. Which is why we strive to preserve water quality and maintain continuous improvement in its interaction with this resource, performing water abstractions efficiently and responsibly, always complying with the regulations in force and in accordance with the principles of the environmental management system implemented in all facilities. Through our environmental management system we carry out an impact identification process to reduce the effects as much as possible, following a policy of low water consumption and preservation of its quality.
Endesa participated in the CDP Water Disclosure project for the fourteenth year running. This initiative requires companies to analyse the current and future risks of their water resources, reporting information related to water strategy and use, including use reduction objectives, and does so in accordance with the requirements of institutional investors and companies with great purchasing power. Endesa has achieved this year's Management category.
Use of water to generate electricity
The main way in which we use water is in the process of generating electricity under conventional techniques.
This is why at Endesa, we work towards:
- Replacing less efficient technologies with renewable and more sustainable ones.
- Controlling abstraction and discharge.
- Limiting the volume of abstraction and consumption of inland waters across all technologies.
- Avoiding water abstraction in water-stressed areas.
- Ensuring the quality of the water in discharges made.
- Reusing and recycling water in our facilities.
- Continuously improving facility processes for lower consumption and impact.
- Establishing and controlling surface limit levels and ecological flows in hydroelectric generation reservoirs.
Respect for this resource also implies the preservation of biodiversity, which is why it is so important to control water abstraction so as not to alter water ecosystems or reduce the risk of spillage and, therefore, avoid pollution.