Appropriate Management of Water Resources


The KOBELCO Group is reducing its use of water in production processes by optimizing water use, and by reusing and recycling water. We also limit the output of pollutants to public waters by purifying wastewater from production processes with treatment systems suited to its characteristics.

Management Structure

In company-wide risk management structure, we regard the preparation for natural disaster as a "top risk", appoint a risk owner and strengthen risk management.

Preparation for natural disaster (especially flood damage)

As the expected kind and range of natural disaster are different, each business location regularly checks the latest hazard maps from local authorization and prepare the risk of natural disaster.

Evaluation of water shortage and water stress

Each business location grasps enough water is provided by calculating prospects of water consumption in next fiscal year and judging whether the amount of contracted industrial water is appropriate. In case of water shortage is expected, the business locations keep alternative means and evaluate affect to production.

The head office evaluates water stress of the region where the business sites are located with WRI Aqueduct and report the problem (if any) to related directors and executive officers. In fiscal 2020, no business locations had a problem with water stress.

Targets and Results

The KOBELCO Group is reducing its use of water in production processes by optimizing water use, and by reusing and recycling water and set target of water recycling rate as 95% and more. In fiscal 2020, the water recycling rate was 96% and reached the target.

We also set targets of water pollution load (COD, total nitrogen and total phosphorus). All of the targets were satisfied.

Water Intake, Discharge and Recycling Rate Data for the Past Three Years (Kobe Steel, Ltd.; unit: 10,000 m3)

Locations Item FY 2018 FY 2019 FY 2020
Kobe Steel, Ltd.
+ Domestic group companies*1
Water withdrawal source
Tap water and industrial water provided by the waterworks bureau in each area*2 4,414 4,899 4,782
Groundwater (recyclable) 483 481 510
Seawater for cooling 267,639 267,406 257,072
Water withdrawal total*3 272,536 272,786 262,364
Point of discharge*4
Rivers 165 169 183
Sea water 270,324 270,012 259,652
Sewage 65 63 56
Discharge total 270,554 270,245 259,891
Discharge total (freshwater area) 2,386 2,297 2,820

Discharge by each treatment method*7

No treatment (including discharge to sewage)

- - 471
Simple treatment - - 900
Standard treatment - - 17
Advanced treatment - - 1,433
Consumption 1,982 2,541 2,472
Recycling rate*5 96% 96% 96%

Data on Water Pollution Load (Kobe Steel, Ltd.; unit: tons)

Location Item Target FY 2020 Result
Kobe Steel, Ltd. + Domestic group companies*6
(10 locations)
Water discharge total - 259,813
COD 474t 243t
Nitrogen 2513t 1915t
Phosphorus 23t 3t
Annual Transfer and Release of Substances Subject to PRTR Reporting
Discharge to public waters - 57t
Drainage - 0.3t

In WRI Aqueduct (as of September 2020), the production sites of Kobe Steel, Ltd. are not located in regions where "Water Stress" is high or higher. In addition, the volume of water from the suppliers for our production sites is ensured, and we believe that the risk of water withdrawal affecting production is low. At Kakogawa Works, for example, the risk of water intake affecting production is thought to be low because upstream from the water used is the Gongen Dam (total storage capacity: 11.12 million tons), constructed to ensure a stable supply of industrial water from the Kakogawa River as well as the Kakogawa Weir (total storage capacity: 1.96 million tons) and the Heiso Dam (total storage capacity: 9.40 million m3), which were constructed to ensure the flow rate of industrial water.

50% of discharge are treated by advanced treatment.

Initiatives of the KOBELCO group

Development of Water Management Plans in the KOBELCO Group

Of the Group’s 33 major production sites in Japan, 15 that account for 45% have formulated water management plans, monitor water intake, discharge and recycling, and are working to properly manage water resources and reduce environmental impact.

At Kakogawa Works, we are promoting the effective use of water resources, such as by monitor withdrawal and discharge through continuous measurement of flow rates at drains, and by recycling water to use again at the site after purifying wastewater from each production process through coagulation sedimentation, sand filtering, etc. In this way, the water recycling rate*1 reaches approximately 97%.

Collaboration with External Bodies to Reduce Water Use

In Toyama Prefecture, where Nippon Koshuha Steel Co., Ltd. is located, the amount of water allocated to companies is ensured, but in order to leave enough water for snow clearing, every year the Prefecture calls on factories, workplaces, offices, and snow-clearing equipment managers to voluntarily save water from December to February. In order to do its part, Nippon Koshuha Steel is working to reduce its water usage as much as possible.

Expenses Associated with Water-related Risks and Investment to mitigate Water-related Risks (Fiscal 2020)

Item Equipment investment Expense
Expenses for Water pollution prevention*1 ¥0.21 billion ¥3.94 billion
R&D expenses for water treatment-related projects*2 ¥0.53 billion
  • *1. Performance for Kobe Steel, Ltd. For more information, see the Environmental Management page.

  • *2. R&D expenses for water treatment-related projects in fiscal 2020 at Kobelco Eco-Solutions Co., Ltd.

Compliance with Laws and Regulations

We comply with standard by laws and regulations. In case that there is stricter standard by agreement with local authority, we comply with it.

There were no serious issues of non-compliance, payments of severe fines or penalties, nor any serious leaks over the permitted level in water quality/quantity that are viewed as a violation of standards and regulations.

Response to the CDP Water Security Questionnaire

Kobe Steel, Ltd. has been responding to questionnaires from CDP*1, an international NGO, since fiscal 2009. Please refer to the following for our response to the 2020 Water Security Questionnaire.

*1 An international NGO working on environmental issues. It sends environment-related questionnaires to companies and compiles the results to analyze and evaluate on a common scale.

Supply Chain

Evaluation of water shortage and water stress; We specify the risk from past cases of water disease in the area where we supply raw materials from, and analyze water risk there by WRI Aqueduct. We diversify raw materials suppliers based on the result of risk analysis.

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