We manage our water discharge and water quality diligently according to our permitted limits. Our facilities are reviewed regularly for the potential to adversely affect groundwater. These reviews and other provisions are incorporated into our OE System, which is utilized to ensure compliance with all water discharge requirements.
Water is a shared resource, and increasing scarcity of usable freshwater is a global concern. We manage and conserve freshwater through reuse and recycling efforts or by using alternatives like desalinated water at facilities in high water stress regions like the Middle East. According to the World Resources Institute Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas, three CPChem wholly owned facilities are in areas of high water stress risk. As part of our Operational Excellence System, CPChem facilities are required to maintain programs that promote continual improvement of water consumption. Companywide, we are working to incorporate concerns surrounding the responsible use of water in business decisions so that we may further protect this valuable resource.
In 2020, our freshwater intake totaled 53.2 thousand megaliters compared to 55.9 thousand megaliters in 2019. Our global freshwater intake intensity decreased from 3.09 in 2019 to 2.89 liters/kg product in 2020. These reductions are mostly attributed to decreased activity at facilities during the year, as well as changes in the classification of desalinated sea water compared to previous years.
At our facilities, water is consumed in manufacturing processes and used for cooling, steam production and the disposal of effluents. We use surface, ground and seawater, sourced directly and through third parties.
Prior to discharge back to water sources, process water is treated to meet or exceed regulatory standards at a water treatment facility.
After treatment, water is reused or recycled in our operation, or discharged from permitted outfalls to local waterways.