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Water

Making more beer but using less water

Australia: World-class brewing: water efficiency at Yatala brewery

Brewery

Yatala brewery, located in a water-stressed area of South East Queensland, Australia, is one of the world's most efficient breweries, using just 2.3 hectolitres (hl) of water to produce one hectolitre of beer.

The brewery's water conservation efforts have been recognised by the local community and received the Sustainable Industries Award from the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), highlighting Yatala as one of the best examples of sustainable industry in the region.

Read more about World-class brewing: water efficiency at Yatala brewery

Colombia: Partnerships to address water issues

Addresing water issues in Columbia

To address water risk in Colombia, Bavaria works in close partnership with water experts and NGOs such as the Water Fund for Life and Sustainability, the German development agency, GIZ, and Corponor, the Regional Autonomous Corporation of Northeast Frontier, to protect river basins, natural parks and local watersheds.

In co-operation with the Water Fund for Life and Sustainability, Bavaria has helped to protect the upper basin of the Causa River. The project has included constructing 12 hectares of protein banks for sustainable cattle farming and isolating 21 hectares to assist natural regeneration. The planting of 6,000 trees has benefited 40 families in the Nasa ethnic group.

Together with GIZ and Corponor, Bavaria has developed social strategies to support the designation of the San Turbán Paramo as a Protected Natural Park.

Bavaria is also one of founding members of the private/public/non-profit sector Aqua Somos Alliance established in 2009 to protect Colombia's ecosystems. Last year the Alliance completed a pilot for restoration projects in the Chisacá River basin near Bogota which helped to identify areas for conservation, restoration, recovery and sustainable use.

India: Reusing waste water in agriculture

Agricultural landscape in India

SABMiller India has joined forces with the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in Water4Crops – India, a programme aimed at improving agricultural productivity through rainwater conservation and harvesting and helping farmers to develop sustainable water management practices that enhance the availability of groundwater and use it more efficiently.

Conducted in four villages in the Medak district with a total population of 12,940, the programme has resulted in a 35% increase in crop yields and an 11% rise in the incomes of small farmers.

The programme also provides micro-entrepreneurship opportunities to approximately 150 women who collect spent malt from SABMiller India's Charminar brewery and circulate it to farmers in the villages who use it as animal feed.

A farmer involved in the project commented: "My association with SABMiller India and ICRISAT has been very beneficial. It has helped me obtain better crop yield and earn more by using integrated genetic and natural resource management techniques. It has also educated us in how to use water more efficiently."

Zambia: Expanding the Water Futures partnership

Woman operating a water pump

In 2012, a new project in Zambia was added to the Water Futures partnership. It focuses on protecting the Itawa Springs which are at risk from pollution and degradation and are an important source of water for people and industry (including Zambian Breweries) in the city of Ndola.

The Water Futures partnership was established in 2009 to facilitate local action to address some of the most pressing shared water risks facing SABMiller and surrounding communities and ecosystems and to prove the business case for private sector action. It has done so through local partnerships in eight countries with projects to protect watersheds, upgrade the infrastructure and strengthen local water management institutions.

To open up the knowledge, experience and benefits of the partnership to more participants, the partnership will be scaled up into a broader Water Futures initiative. This will expand its reach, increase its global network of local partnerships and encourage new partners to join in collaborative action.

For more information, see www.water-futures.org.

USA: Building an understanding of watershed risk

Pouring a Coors Light at a bar

Water is a top priority for MillerCoors in the USA because of the impact it has on production and the supply of raw materials. In November 2012, MillerCoors conducted a pilot watershed risk assessment at its Irwindale brewery to seek to protect its operations from the potential effects of water scarcity.

The assessment considers potential water-related impacts such as changes in the quantity or quality of the company's water sources and changes in regulatory requirements. The results of the assessment will enable MillerCoors to form a mitigation action plan and track the usefulness of its mitigation efforts.

MillerCoors plans to update the Irwindale Brewery watershed risk assessment every year and to use the new pilot watershed risk assessment tool and process at its Fort Worth Brewery in 2013.

USA: Working with farmers to protect water-stressed regions

USA farmland

MillerCoors and The Nature Conservancy have jointly helped to fund two farm irrigation retrofits while continuing their water conservation efforts in the Silver Creek Valley.

The programme – which achieves water savings estimated at 75% – involves converting flood-irrigated land to sprinkler systems, so boosting the productivity of the soil and cutting down on the nitrates and fertilisers entering Silver Creek.

To continue these efforts, MillerCoors has established a US$35,000 water conservation fund that allows The Nature Conservancy to match investments made by farmers interested in retrofitting irrigation systems to improve their water efficiency. The Nature Conservancy advises farmers through the stages of design, implementation and adaptive management and monitors outcomes.

MillerCoors also continues to monitor water conservation practices on its showcase barley farm in the Silver Creek Valley. Over the last two years, the farm has saved over 10 million hectolitres of water from precision irrigation techniques – enough to meet the needs of a family of four for nearly 1,850 years.

More efficient irrigation techniques reduce the need for pumped water and therefore save energy as well. By pumping less, the farm has cut its total energy use by more than half, a significant saving for a farm that historically spent US$120,000 per year on energy. Not only are these irrigation techniques good for the environment, they benefit farmers financially.