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Water management initiatives in the UK's food and drink industry have led to a 15.6 percent reduction in water use since 2007, when manufacturers in the sector made a commitment to use water more efficiently, a report said on July 30. The amount excludes water used in products.
This is equivalent to a reduction of 6.1 million cubic meters in annual water use over a period in which production increased by 8.2 percent.
In fact, water intensity -- the amount of water needed per unit of production -- was cut by 22 percent compared to figures from 2007, representing a decrease of 0.49 cubic meters per tonne of product.
Last year alone, signatories to the Federation House Commitment (FHC) reduced the amount of water used in the manufacture of food and drink by 1.35 million cubic meters. In addition to the environmental benefits, that action saved the industry £2 million ($3.4 million) in the purchase price of water.
WRAP, a UK-based organisation that focuses on resource efficiency, manages the FHC in partnership with the Food and Drink Federation and Dairy UK. The industry agreement aims to contribute to a 20 percent reduction in overall water usage across the food and drink industry by 2020.
The FHC incorporates a wide variety of manufacturing operations in the sector. This year's report includes 236 sites with comparable data, and among them 45 percent of water use is attributed to three sub-sectors: dairy (17 percent), meat processing (17 percent) and soft drinks (11 percent).