Water stewardship


The drought experienced since 2015 in the inland region of South Africa provided a reminder of the potentially devastating consequences that droughts can have on society. Fortunately our affected operations in South Africa were able to respond well to the restrictions imposed on potable water use. Although the favourable late summer rains have significantly alleviated the water supply risk, ongoing infrastructure challenges still need to be addressed. The recent water situation has heightened our resolve for ensuring good water stewardship.


  • Our largest operations in South Africa are dependent on the Integrated Vaal River System (IVRS), from which we continued to receive our full allocation, despite drought conditions. In response to the drought and water infrastructure challenges, we hosted a risk workshop with the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) and Eskom to identify improvement opportunities. At our operating sites, we have a process in place to monitor community water-related complaints.
  • Ongoing participation in integrated watershed management initiatives is key to our water stewardship focus areas. Together with improving water use efficiency, and in line with our commitment to collective action and to catchment management, we believe that the joint initiatives with municipalities to save water will make a more meaningful contribution to water security for all stakeholders reliant on this important water supply catchment area.
  • We continued to implement internal water-use efficiency targets for our most water-intensive operations for the five-year period up to 2020:
  • - Our Sasolburg Operations’ target is to maintain the 2015 baseline of 9,8 tons of water use per ton of saleable production; this year we managed to achieve a 2% improvement against the baseline.
    - Our Secunda Synfuels Operations’ target is to achieve a 2,5% improvement in water intensity against actual consumption in 2014 of 11,6 tons of water per ton of saleable production; this year we reported a 2,1% deterioration against the baseline. The deterioration can be attributed to key water-generating equipment being down for maintenance and therefore not being available to offset some raw water intake.
    - Our mining operations reported a 17% improvement during 2017 against the 2015 baseline, meeting their target of restricting the increase in potable water use to a maximum of 10%.
  • Our OMEs are committed to managing water responsibly and ensuring that our water footprint for current operations will not fundamentally increase over the next five years. Our two most water-intensive facilities, Sasolburg and Secunda Synfuels 0perations, achieved reductions in potable water use of 29% and 19% respectively, compared with the previous year.
  • We established a constructive engagement platform with the DWS to resolve administrative matters relating to water use licences.


  • Our total water consumption decreased from 138,6 million m3 in 2016
    to 137,1 million m3.
  • The total quantity of water recycled in 2017 was 178,4 million m3, up
    from 174,7 million m3 in 2016.
  • For the 2016 CDP Water Disclosure response, Sasol achieved a commendable B score, scoring well on disclosure on direct risk and exposure, governance, strategy and context, but falling short on the information supplied on water risks in our supply chain.
  • We remain involved in a water conservation/water demand management project for the Metsimaholo Local Municipality (MLM) in Sasolburg, in collaboration with Rand Water (as implementing agent), German Agency for International Cooperation (GiZ) and the DWS. A 23% water saving in Zamdela (in the Sasolburg area) was achieved as a result of infrastructure upgrades and advanced pressure management interventions.
  • Following on from the ‘war on leaks’ project in 2015, Secunda’s Social Investment (SI) team has partnered with Cobra Watertech (Pty) Ltd and Rand Water Foundation to implement a ‘war on leaks’ programme involving the training of 60 plumbers to be potentially used in Govan Mbeki Municipality (GMM) to reduce leaks. Secunda SI and GMM have also agreed a memorandum of understanding to implement a water revenue enhancement project; Secunda SI contributed R3,5 million and GMM R3,5 million. We are jointly developing a water demand/losses baseline.
  • We received an amended integrated WUL for our Sasolburg Operations.
  • As a signatory to the UN Global Compact CEO Water Mandate we have again published an annual Communication on Progress against the 6 focus areas of the Mandate.
For more information refer to our UNGC COP here (in the downloads tab).

Reporting legend

Integrated Report
Annual Financial Statements
Sustainability Reporting
Form 20-F