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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 fresh water use and effluent management, and by collaborating with others to replenish fresh water 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 2023

We saw a 29% fall in freshwater withdrawals and a 15% fall in freshwater consumption, compared with our 2020 baseline. This was due to a combination of divestments, reconfigurations and other activities.

We actively manage our freshwater demands in areas of stress and scarcity. Taking into account analysis that utilized the World Resources Institute (WRI) Aqueduct Global Water Risk Atlas, in 2023, eight of our 17 major operating sites were located in regions with medium to extremely high water stress.

At major operating sites, 73% of our total freshwater withdrawals and 36% of freshwater consumption were from regions with high or extremely high water stress in 2023. This is a significant increase from 2022 (0.1% and 0.6% respectively) and is due to an update to WRI’s AqueductTM 4.0 in 2023, which changed the distribution of water stressed areas.

Our wastewater treatment concentrations decreased slightly 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 was 40mg/l.

Improving water efficiency

We have introduced detailed, site-based water assessments, to help identify operational efficiencies. In 2023 four assessments were undertaken, at our refineries in Rotterdam in the Netherlands, Lingen in Germany and Cherry Point and Whiting in the US. These refineries accounted for around 51% of our total water consumption in 2023.

In 2023 we introduced efficiencies at Lingen, our bpx energy facilities and Eagle Ford Shale in the US. These efficiencies included new water treatment and recycling systems and the use of brackish rather than fresh water.

Water replenishment collaboration

We aim to work with others to replenish water, focusing on catchments where we can achieve the biggest impact. In 2023, we signed up to support three catchment collaboration projects in Azerbaijan and continued our work to improve clean water supply in Mauritania. The expansion of this project is expected to increase access to safe drinking water for an additional 455 households bringing the total of number people supported to around 6,000.