Water Management

Oil palm needs a constant supply of water as unstable supply of water can create unnecessary stress to the trees and adversely affect their productivity.

Our water management practices aim to maximise water efficiency, through various measures that seek to balance our operational requirements with the conservation of water resource. We employ measures to minimise the impact of droughts and floods, optimise the use of rainwater and surface water, maximise utilisation of effluents from palm oil mills, and minimise the impact of saltwater incursions and acidity levels.

Water management in Sime Darby Plantation include:
  • For coastal estates, a systematic drainage system or bunds are constructed to remove excess water or prevent floodwater from entering the estates during high rainfall period. Optimal water levels are maintained through a system of water gates and flood pumps.
  • On inland soils and undulating hilly terrain, water management methods include the construction of terraces, appropriate frond stacking methods and the establishment of legume cover crops (LCC) on the terrace fringes. These methods will minimise surface run-off resulting in high water retention,
  • Topography surveys are conducted to ensure effective planning of drainage and irrigation systems, as well as identifying water gates, main outlets, pump sites, and flood prone areas, among others.

In 2017, we began monitoring our water intensity at our mills. Whilst our mill design ratio is 1:1 (1 MT FFB : 1 m3 water)  an approximate 0.2 to 0.4m3 water is used for other than FFB processing (approximately 20%).
This has led to further investments and initiatives in this area to reduce water usage to a target of 1.0m3 per tonne of FFB produced by 2023. This translates to a reduction of a cumulative 10-40 percent over five years. Whilst our operations in Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands are already operating at an average of 0.8m3 – 0.9m3, we are confident by implementing control measures on water usage at our mills, we can effectively reduce our water intensity.


 



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