Water: Preserving a vital resource

Panoramic view of the Grandpuits refinery

Water is a vital resource for life. We also use it as a feedstock as part of our operations. We therefore strive to optimize our water use in order to reduce our water withdrawals and consumption, and preserve water quality throughout our production chain. To this end, we continuously improve our water knowledge and management.

Why it matters


Fresh water is an essential resource for both human development and the conservation of ecosystems. But the number of water risk regions, where water quality is poor or water is scarce, is increasing. This trend could be exacerbated by climate change.

To ensure sustainable and effective water management, regulations are becoming increasingly strict. Water issues are particularly important for TotalEnergies as water is a vital resource for our oil and gas operations and the development of renewable energies. We therefore strive to preserve water and are constantly looking for ways to improve our facilities' performance.

Water: Our Approach and Guidelines for Daily Action

We leverage our expertise to limit as much as possible the impact of our activities on water resources wherever we operate, across the life cycle of our facilities and products.

To achieve this, our approach is part of a long-term strategy that is formalized in our Safety Health Environment Quality Charter. We implement this strategy – which is designed to avoid and limit water risks – throughout the lifespan of our projects to minimize the impact of our operations on water.

Our method involves:

  • Taking regional sensitivities into account: In order to identify in advance the facilities most affected by the availability of fresh water, we track and assess water withdrawals and discharges at all of our sites. Before implementing new projects, we use decision support tools to obtain a comprehensive overview of water stress regions.

Local Water Tool: Optimized Management of Our Activities in Water Risk Regions

We worked together with IPIECA and the Global Environmental Management Initiative (GEMI) to develop the Local Water Tool (LWT). This assessment tool collects vast amounts of information on our sites’ socio­economic and natural environment and on climate change, which are all important data for water consumption management on our sites. The result is precise, local mapping of the risks and impacts of our sites in water risk regions. Thanks to the LWT, we can continue to hone our water optimization efforts.

  • Managing water from the first to the very last day of a project: We systematically integrate water risk and impact management into our Environmental Management System (EMS) at every stage of our projects, right up until our facilities are dismantled.
  • Reporting: We report to our stakeholders on our water performance, both qualitatively and quantitatively. We aim to ensure that all our sites comply with the requirements set out in local regulations. When these regulations are lacking or insufficient, we put in place our own standards.

Find out about steps to minimize the impact of our operations on water resources in our infographic

Investing in research to improve our water knowledge and management

of our oil sites have met the target for the quality of onshore discharges since 2016


We are stepping up our research and development, particularly in an effort to improve our water treatment techniques. For example, in our Exploration & Production operations, we are looking at the best techniques for reinjecting produced water into the reservoir from which it was extracted. Another solution is designed to use produced water to maintain reservoir pressure, thereby facilitating oil recovery.

At TotalEnergies, we believe that openness and dialogue are key to fostering innovation within the Group.

That’s why we support ambitious open innovation projects, like the start-up Adionics, which we helped get off the ground. Adionics uses solvents with a strong affinity for water to desalinate it and regenerate the solvent for another cycle, meaning that the water can be recycled and re­used. 

of our oil sites have met the target for the quality of offshore discharges since 2019

In addition, we forge partnerships with organizations specializing in water issues. One example is the agreement we signed in 2018 with the International Office for Water.

BIOMEM: An Ultra-High-Performance Biological Treatment Process for Produced Water


BIOMEM: An Ultra-High-Performance Biological Treatment Process for Produced Water

Produced water increases in volume as an oil field matures, making water treatment a major challenge. To preserve biodiversity and the human environment around our sites and stay on top of regulatory changes, our R&D teams develop cutting-edge technologies, such as BIOMEM, a highly innovative biological treatment process that eliminates the toxicity of produced water by using microorganisms. This more cost-effective technology, which has recently been patented, can be applied at all of our onshore and offshore sites.

Following trials in 2018, BIOMEM will be rolled out at two industrial facilities in Gabon and Bolivia in 2019.

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TotalEnergies EcoSolutions program

Our solutions to reduce our environmental impact

Sustainable Performance

Our environmental indicators on a dedicated website