Ingham’s chicken operations simply used too much water

Inghams were very successful poultry and feed producers but there was one looming problem in that they were also one of the biggest water users – and that water lifeline was set to run out and reduce their production – shown here is Greg Menz from the Somerville Vic plant where the issue was corrected

While Inghams Group Limited (Ingham’s), is Australia and New Zealand’s leading poultry producer it is also the second largest feed producer in Australia for poultry, horse, dairy and pig feed.

But one achievement Ingham’s wanted to diminish was the fact that in 2008, at the height of the “Millennium Drought,” Ingham’s Somerville site was named as one of Melbourne’s biggest water users. And useage was set to grow substantially if nothing was done.

All up, Ingham’s has vertically integrated businesses that incorporates 345 facilities and farms and water is essential to every aspect of its operations.

Accessing the required water volume consistently and at high quality is essential especially for a growing global food company, therein lies the problem.

According to the World Resources Institute, by 2030, under business as usual conditions, the 55% increase in global demand for water will be met by a 40% shortfall.

Therefore, Ingham’s decided to act, it began to understand not only its impact on water catchments but how reduced water flow will impact on its operations and future.

This is when the journey towards the International Water Stewardship Standard began.

Ingham’s was initially evaluated against the world’s first water stewardship standard developed by Water Stewardship Australia (WSA) in 2009. Five years later, following release of the global AWS Standard, Ingham’s had developed their ‘Sustainable Somerville’ plan to the level of achieving certification to the global standard.

Along the way, Ingham’s Somerville plant received significant investment to improve its water efficiency.

The installation of Ingham’s second Advanced Water Treatment Plant in 2012 allowed the plant to reduce potable water requirements by almost 70% through advanced treatment technology.

This also resulted in a comparable reduction in wastewater from the plant.

Inghams pioneering processing plant at Somerville on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria is only the second site in the world to achieve AWS certification and the first to achieve a gold level.

As well as addressing issues related to water quality and quantity, Ingham’s has addressed issues related to healthy ecosystems and biodiversity by, for example, significantly reducing nutrient loading in treated effluent to sewer and fencing off and replanting the sides of a transient creek that runs across their property.

Ingham’s has received industry and government recognition for their efforts, but the benefits go much broader than awards – it results in a more secure water future.

Developed through a four-year global, multi-stakeholder consultation, the AWS Standard offers a credible, globally-applicable framework for major water users to understand fully their usage and impacts.

BM TRADA has been offering AWS certification since 2015 and has a team of five AWS auditors in Australia and New Zealand.

If you have an excess water usage issue that needs arresting, for help or further information, go to BM TRADA’s website or contact quoting PRAWS-1.