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Making more beer but using less water

Water in Uganda 00:02:31

This film highlights the water management challenges faced by Nile Breweries in Uganda


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Colombia: Working in partnership to protect a river basin

Water basin

Our Colombian business, Bavaria, is working with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and Bogotá Water Company to protect the basin that provides water to Bogotá. The basin is being seriously deforested, particularly by cattle breeders wanting to create grazing land to produce milk. Deforestation affects the local ecosystems and, while it doesn't reduce the capacity of the basin to produce water, it means that more sediment is washed into the supply. This in turn means higher costs for the water company and ultimately its customers.

Bavaria has invested US$145,000 in the project. This money will be used to develop partnerships with the cattle breeders to improve their production methods and reduce sedimentation in the river.

India: Water strategy

Water treatment pipes

Water is an increasingly urgent issue in India with a rising population and decreasing ground water table. In response our Indian business, SABMiller India, launched their '5R' water strategy in 2007 achieving significant reduction in water usage. Overall water consumption has decreased, reducing the amount of water it takes to produce one hectolitre of beer from over 9hl/hl to 5.6hl/hl in five years.

This has been achieved through a wide range of initiatives including reverse osmosis systems to allow waste water to be reused as service water and introducing rainwater harvesting systems to replenish the water table.

SABMiller India is committed to reducing water in its breweries and realise its goal of reducing water usage to 3.5hl/hl by the year 2015.

South Africa: Water neutral scheme

Tshirt which reads: Review. Reduce. Replenish.

Two of our South African breweries – Newlands in Cape Town and Ibhayi in Port Elizabeth – are taking part in the pilot phase of the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) Water Neutral Scheme of which SAB Ltd is a partner. The scheme encourages South African businesses to reduce their water consumption and offset what they do use by investing in projects that clear invasive vegetation from river catchment areas. In doing so they release equivalent volumes of water back into the aquatic ecosystem.

The benefits are threefold – job creation through the initial clearing and subsequent maintenance of the vegetation, the rehabilitation of catchment areas, and the release of more water. The pilot phase will be used to develop and refine the scheme before it is made available to other participants.

Romania: Using water more efficiently

Five hands grabbing a ring of water

URSUS breweries in Romania has been reducing the amount of water they need to make each litre of beer.  Much of the progress has come from the installation of a new brewhouse at the Timisoreana brewery which is set to increase output from 21,000 to 75,000 hectolitres per week.  This in itself will improve the water-to-beer ratio.

In addition to the water-efficient technology in the new brewhouse, URSUS has invested in other technologies to cut its use of water.  All new production streams now have systems that recover water from the brewing stages for use in cleaning processes that don’t need high quality water. More accurate process controls and better water-monitoring systems have also made a difference.

These changes have led to over a 15% improvement in water efficiency across the group of breweries.