Water is essential for the existence of life on Earth and a natural resource of irreplaceable environmental, social and economic value.
EDP recognizes access to drinking water and sanitation as a universal Human Right and assumes its responsibility in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular SDG 15, contributing to a sustainable use of freshwater ecosystems services, while also striving to guarantee affordable and clean energy for all, in line with SDG 7.
Under its Environmental Policy, EDP commits to environmental protection, mitigating company’s impacts, managing risks, stimulating R&D + Innovation and promoting continuous improvement in processes, practices and performance through a collaborative approach with its stakeholders towards an efficient use and a sustainable management of water.
Use and manage water sustainably in all processes, operations and installations, by continuously improving performance.
Water dependency and impacts
Water is a vital resource for EDP’s electricity generation activities, in particular hydro generation, an important part of the company’s renewable generation portfolio and crucial to its CO2 emissions reduction and climate change mitigation strategy.
Thermal power plants also depend on the quantity and quality of available water, both for cooling and process needs.
EDP’s activities can impact, both negatively and positively, on water resources and ecosystems:
• The existence of dams transforms lotic into lentic systems with very different eco-hydraulic characteristics
• The use of water by thermal power plants results in the emission of wastewater and may increase the temperature of water bodies receiving cooling water discharges
• Hydropower plants reservoirs increase access to water for other uses, such as agriculture, water consumption and recreation, serving as strategic water reserves and helping the regulating of floods downstream.
Main use of water in EDP’s supply chain is associated with coal extraction. Given the progressive reduction of coal in the company’s generation portfolio and the location of coal suppliers in low water stress areas, water-related supply chain risks are not considered material.
EDP uses the CEO Water Mandate guidelines for its working definition of key water-related concepts, and supports its high-level water stress exposure risk assessment on the WBCSD Global Water Tool and WRI Aqueduct.
At an operational level, the company follows national performance standards for water-related indicators (withdraws, consumption, discharges’ quality). In Europe, these standards are supported by the application of the Best Available Techniques (BAT), for thermal power plants, and by the Water Framework Directive, for hydropower facilities’ management.
EDP publicly reports water indicators, on an annual basis, in its Sustainability Report, in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards. It also responds to CDP Water Security Questionnaire, where it details its water-related strategy, commitments, management approach, risks, opportunities and performance.