Remaining fresh water neutral recently led Southwestern Energy to an important milestone: We recently surpassed 10 billion gallons of fresh water returned to the environment through our comprehensive approach to optimizing water usage and the completion of 10 company-sponsored water conservation projects since 2014.
The projects include channel and habitat restoration projects on rivers and streams, expansions of wetlands and erosion controls, and construction of systems to collect and treat acid mine drainage (AMD) across Appalachia. The most recent project, completed this year, is helping to restore the Cheat River’s Muddy Creek watershed in West Virginia, which had been severely impaired by third-party AMD unrelated to our operations.
In each of these projects we partnered with government agencies, local communities and nonprofits to ensure the greatest environmental and economic benefits are generated. Without those local partnerships and the hard work of Southwestern employees, passing the 10-billion-gallon milestone would have been impossible. Combined, the 10 projects and ongoing partnerships will conserve or restore an additional 2.8 billion gallons of fresh water annually.
Another key to achieving fresh water neutral status involves our focus on water conservation, reduction, protection and innovation in our operations. New technology allows us to decrease water usage in wells while improving productivity. Again, we’re partnering with outside agencies including private labs and universities to optimize how we use water to produce energy.
Importantly, our long-term commitment to environmental stewardship extends beyond water and drives our decisions around protecting the air and land in communities where we’re privileged to operate.
Our leadership in this space was recognized this year when Southwestern earned the highest score among North America’s 30 largest publicly traded oil and natural gas producers in a report from shareholder advocacy group As You Sow and investment advisory firm Boston Common Asset Management assessing water and chemical management practices.
We’re proud to make these incredible strides toward proving that responsibly produced energy creates important economic and environmental benefits for consumers, for the United States, and for the world. Together with our community and industry partners, we can ensure we’re protecting the water, air and land for generations to come.