Local authorities are the most competent regulatory body for the management of water as policieies need to be based on local conditions. This is the view of The World Steel Association (worldsteel) outlined in its recently published position paper on water management in the steel industry.

Water management policies suited to local conditions will help the steel industry to reduce its water footprint and improve resource efficiency.

“Even though the steel industry uses large quantities of water, very little is actually consumed. Around 90% of water used in the steel industry is cleaned, cooled and returned to source. Most of the loss is due to evaporation. Water returned to rivers and other sources is often cleaner than when extracted,” commented Dr. Edwin Basson, director-general of worldsteel.

The position paper explains why a holistic and balanced approach is required for water policies and what should be taken into consideration to achieve the optimal use of water resources in the steel industry. It highlights the need for a local approach and a tailor-made regulatory framework because the nature of water challenges varies significantly between regions and countries.

According to worldsteel, high water usage is not inherently negative provided that there is ample water available for all potential users and use does not impact on water quality. Recycling and reuse is a priority for steel producers in arid regions where water is scarce.