Water Management

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Freshwater is an essential resource. The production of oil and gas, electricity and chemicals requires water, and Occidental's business units and facilities understand the importance of managing water withdrawal, consumption and discharge. Occidental's water management program is designed to conserve and protect water sources in communities where we operate. Occidental's commitment to using produced water from oil and gas reservoirs and other non-potable sources in its operations wherever feasible reduces our demand for freshwater. In addition, we routinely assess our water management practices including those with respect to water supply, treatment and discharge, to identify opportunities for improvement.

Oil and gas operations involve extracting, processing, recycling, treating and reinjecting or discharging produced water from oil and gas reservoirs. Occidental subsidiary OxyChem manufactures chlorine and caustic soda, which involves the extraction and processing of brine (saltwater) streams. Occidental's Glenn Springs Holdings, Inc. subsidiary manages environmental sites, including treating groundwater to meet water quality standards.

Occidental's water management program focuses on the unique characteristics of each community and region of operations. Through water management practices that include the treatment and use of low-quality produced water, the recycling of water and the limited use of freshwater and drinking water supplies, Occidental works to ensure its water use does not detract from the cities, towns, farms and ranches near our operations.

Before beginning operations in a new location, Occidental's Health, Environment and Safety Management System (HESMS) requires an assessment of potential environmental effects, including those related to water resources. The HESMS encompasses programs, standards and operational strategies designed to conserve natural resources, such as improving efficient use, recycling and reuse of water and the quality of water being treated and discharged to surface water bodies.

Part of Occidental's assessment involves the identification of water-related risks and impacts as well as opportunities. Occidental applies the Global Environmental Management Initiative® Local Water Tool (GEMI® LWT) to assess risks and to consistently evaluate water use and discharge at key operations, taking into account factors such as:

  • Physical and climatic characteristics

  • Future physical supply reliability

  • Population growth and industrial growth trends

  • Affected ecosystems

  • Regulatory issues

  • Social context

This process with the use of other industry risk tools, helps us validate the efficacy of existing water-related safeguards and identify new opportunities to ensure the protection of water sources and receiving water bodies.

Occidental manages water withdrawal, consumption and discharge volumes to ensure these amounts are consistent with community interests near its operations and do not adversely impact the environment. Occidental's assessment includes tracking of the following water performance metrics, as applicable:

  • Total withdrawal

  • Freshwater withdrawal

  • Total produced water generated

  • Recycled and reused water

These metrics help to evaluate our water management activities and facilitate disclosure of our actions and results. In developing water metrics for its diverse operations, Occidental recognizes the localized nature of water management issues. In many cases, it is not relevant to compare water management practices from one site to another because the availability and quality of water sources, as well as the demand for those water sources, varies significantly from place to place. For this reason, Occidental reports on water use in key operations, rather than companywide metrics. Occidental's use of the GEMI® LWT is consistent with this practice.

Our most recent CDP Water Program questionnaire is available here.