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Water positive

Our aim 17 is becoming water positive by 2035

We aim to replenish more fresh water than we consume in our operations. We will do this by being more efficient in operational freshwater use and effluent management, and by collaborating with others to replenish freshwater in stressed and scarce catchment areas where we operate.‎

We have set two objectives for this aim: improved efficiency of operational freshwater use and effluent management; and collaboration on the most impactful opportunities to replenish water in stressed and scarce catchments where we operate.


Why being water positive matters


Water resources are increasingly under pressure from population growth, economic development, pollution and the changing climate. As stated in our human rights policy we respect the rights to water and sanitation for people who could potentially be affected by our activities, including our employees, contractors and neighbouring communities. bp is strongly dependent on freshwater too, so we are taking action to become more water efficient.


Our water consumption in 2022

We saw a 9.8% fall in freshwater withdrawals and a 7.5% fall in freshwater consumption, compared with our 2020 baseline. This was largely due to a decrease at some of our refineries brought about by higher maintenance activity and withdrawal restrictions at Gelsenkirchen because of dry summer weather. It was partially offset by an increase in consumption due to increased drilling and production activity at our bpx energy operations.


We actively manage our freshwater demands in areas of stress and scarcity. Based on analysis using the World Resources Institute (WRI) Aqueduct Global Water Risk Atlas, five of our 17 major operating sites were located in regions with medium to extremely high water stress in 2022.

At major operating sites, 0.1% % of our total freshwater withdrawals and 0.6 % of freshwater consumption were from regions with high or extremely high water stress in 2022 (compared with 0.1% and 0.6% respectively in 2021).


bp and wastewater in 2022

Our wastewater treatment concentrations have slightly increased owing to lower discharge volumes at the refineries. The average chemical oxygen demand concentration of the treated water discharged from bp-operated treatment facilities to the freshwater environment as 42ppm.

Improving water efficiency

We have introduced detailed, site-based water assessments, to help identify operational efficiencies. Our refining business has completed an assessment of this type at Castellón, Spain, and assessments are now under way at other refineries.

Through our projects organization we have run value improvement workshops in the UK, Germany and Spain. The recommendations from these workshops will be carried through to subsequent design phases of relevant projects.