In calendar year 2017, we reported our water management and performance efforts to the CDP for the second year in a row.
Water is a precious, finite resource that must be used and managed responsibly from farm to finished product. Food safety and quality is our top priority and water is essential to producing safe food. We aim to balance responsible water stewardship with protecting the quality and safety of our products. To better manage our water use in real time, work is underway on a new measuring and continuous monitoring system at all our U.S. plant locations.
In March 2016, we announced a target to reduce our water use intensity 12 percent by 2020 against a baseline of FY2015. To ensure we were creating an achievable, cost-effective target, we worked with a water treatment and process improvements supply partner to conduct multiple plant assessments and review historical water use data. We are currently collaborating with the World Resources Institute (WRI) to further refine this goal and establish context-based goals that mitigate our water quality and scarcity risks at the facility level.
WRI is also in the process of conducting a Water Risk Assessment that we anticipate will be completed in FY2018. The assessment will help inform Tyson’s exposure to water-related risks, existing programmatic and engagement gaps, and potential opportunities for improvement across the company’s fresh meat, poultry, and prepared foods business.
Approximately 31 billion gallons of water enter our facilities annually, and the majority is returned to surface waters of the U.S. through our 36 full-treatment and 55 pre-treatment wastewater treatment centers. We use current technology and reclamation systems to conserve and reuse wastewater in our direct operations. The majority of water we use is treated and returned to the environment. Wastewater treatment not only conserves water, but, in some locations, also allows the nutrients in the wastewater to be used to grow crops and reduces our need to purchase manufactured commercial fertilizer.
At our Pasco, Washington; Holcomb, Kansas; and Madison, Nebraska plants, we reused more than 2 billion gallons of wastewater for crop irrigation. More than 3 million pounds of nutrients were collected and redistributed by beneficial soil irrigation practices through this process. For more details on our wastewater treatment process, visit our Wastewater Treatment webpage.