Overall, industry (including energy) uses about 19% of the world’s total water withdrawal. According to the IEA, energy uses about 15% of the total, which implies approximately 4% for large industry and manufacturing. It is predicted that by 2050 manufacturing alone will increase its use by 400%. Industry’s water-dependence ranges from the large users in food and beverage and the mining industry to SMEs. Water use is further expanded if the total water footprint of an industry or individual facility is considered.
As industrial technology and understanding of the essential role of water in the economy and of the environmental stresses placed upon the resource improve, industry is taking measures to reduce its water use per unit produced, thereby improving industrial water productivity. Increased attention is being directed to water quality, particularly downstream. Industry is also putting efforts to reuse and recycle water, matching water quality to use and moving towards cleaner production, with possible benefits in terms of better paid jobs within industry as well as treatment equipment suppliers.