Circular Economy Water Management
AMATA has created a water management model to overcome potential challenges, including water shortages. As a premier developer of private industrial estates, the company must be able to provide a reliable water supply to its customers, now and in the long term. Water availability can't be limited only to industrial activity but must be guaranteed for all sectors. It’s more than simply ensuring investor confidence.
The AMATA Water Management Model: Wastewater Recycling as a Prototype for the Eastern Economic Corridor
Tackling water shortage while saving up to 40% on water
The Thai government has mandated a policy to develop the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), which comprises Chonburi, Rayong and Chachoengsao provinces. Their objective is to make the EEC the best and most modern economic area within ASEAN.
Today, the eastern region of Thailand already has many factors contributing to its economic development; deep-sea ports, airports, major transportation routes, tourist attractions on land and at sea are all significant contributors to economic growth.
When the EEC region is fully developed within the next twenty years or so, many more people will relocate to the area, adding to the already densely populated and urbanized coastal area in Chonburi and Rayong provinces, and in the existing industrial clusters.
This population growth will fuel an ever-increasing demand for water in all sectors. From research, overall demand for water is expected to rise by up to 5.7 billion cubic meters by 2037, making it a major consideration for ambitious development plans.
Photo: Mr. Chuchat Saitin
Mr. Chuchat Saitin, Managing Director of AMATA Water Company Limited, and Vice Chairman of Water and Environment Institute for Sustainability (WEIS), The Federation of Thai Industries, is emphasizing the importance of the new EEC area, saying that it has growth potential to become a major economic hub. He anticipates growth rates higher than in Europe or America, with the advantage of more favorable production factors seen in labor cost, cost of raw materials and other operational costs.
Water in the EEC region is not abundantly available; rapid urbanization and industrialization is increasing pressure on rural water supplies, whilst consistent water supply is for agriculture one of the most important factors. In recent years, the EEC area experienced major droughts; and with changing rainfall patterns due to climate change, droughts are expected to become more frequent and severe.
According to Director Chuchat, "Since the severe drought of 2005, AMATA has been continuously developing its water management programs in order to avoid future water shortages. We have worked on data analyses of weather conditions and forecasts. We worked on alternative water sources, including surface groundwater. And we studied options for recycling wastewater and producing fresh water from seawater using current technologies. We have focused on achieving a balance between economic and social development and the environment. Our water management principles are based on a circular economy system with an efficient use of natural resources, known as the 3 R's: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.”
Every day, AMATA’s wastewater treatment plants currently collect and treat 35,700 cubic meters of wastewater, equivalent to 13 million cubic meters per year. Current water reclamation facilities reclaim wastewater with a Reverse Osmosis Membrane (RO) filtration system, reducing the demand for water from fresh sources by 40 percent. The remaining wastewater is utilized for the irrigation of green spaces and for the cooling process at private power plants. The result is zero wastewater flowing into public canals or natural watersheds.
AMATA Water has also established an Industrial Water Management Learning Center to educate interested agencies and institutions about proper water management system according to the 3Rs principles and the Circular Economy System.
Mr. Chuchat said that AMATA was possibly the first Thailand company to recognize the advantages of recycled wastewater as an additional water source, in place of naturally sourced water.
This year, AMATA City Chonburi completed the construction of a third reservoir, increasing raw water storage capacity to a total of 30 million m3 as an integral part of the company’s water resources development plan. The reservoirs also serve as holding ponds for rainwater collected from the separate storm drainage system in the industrial estate.
Floating solar projects, deployed atop AMATA’s water and ground mounted solar farms add an impressive 2,152 kWp of capacity to AMATA’s green energy portfolio and were rolled out last year to power water treatment facilities.
The company is charging ahead with several more floating solar projects which are set to come online next year to fully utilize water reservoirs surfaces for floating solar.
“AMATA cares deeply about environmental conservation, responsible and sustainable development as part of the legacy we give the next generation” Mr. Chuchat said. “AMATA continues to think of new and revolutionary ways in which we can reduce carbon emissions and we strive to be a market leader in this regard” he added.
Circular Economy Waste Management
Zero Waste to Landfill
Photo: Waste Transfer Station to separate and sort, and recycle solid waste
The Company is aware of the impact of waste disposal by landfill method because it produces greenhouse gases which is the main cause of climate change. Since 2011, AMATA has set its target to reduce solid waste to landfill using the circular economy concept to achieve zero waste to landfill.
Currently, AMATA City Chonburi has achieved 0.06% waste-to-landfill.
In 2021, AMATA Facility Services, the subsidiary in charge of waste management, organized the collection of 20,648 tons of solid waste in AMATA City Chonburi. The collected garbage was sent to AMATA’s own waste separation plant for sorting, recycling and separating waste which then is sent to the partner’s Refuse-derived fuel (RDF) plant to be further sent to cement plant kilns.
Since 2014, AMATA Facility Services also initiated a customer awards program “AMATA Best Waste Management Awards” to encourage proper waste management within factories, in particular the separation of solid and wet waste and to promote recycling at plants.
Photo: Plastic Road at Amata City Chonburi
In October 2018, AMATA Corporation Public Company Limited, Chemicals Business of Siam Cement Group (SCG) and Dow Thailand Group signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to develop the recycled plastic roads at AMATA City Chonburi.
The project offers opportunities to increase the durability of asphalt roads while reducing the amount of plastic waste in the industrial estate. The partnership between the three organizations serves as a model of how organizations can collaborate to reduce the amount of plastic waste in the environment, advance a circular economy and create value for plastic waste.
Since, three plastic roads of a total distance of 1,990 meters were built using 16.89 tons of plastic waste as a construction component.
In 2020, AMATA Facility Services Company Limited and Siam Cement Group (SCG) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to develop and implement “Koom Kah Smart Manifest,” a digital application that is enhancing AMATA's smart waste collection system.
SCG’s application provides a holistic tool for streamlining waste bank management while simplifying planning and logistics, thus enabling better waste management at the source. It is promoting sustainable recycling practices, in line with AMATA's concept of Circular Economy.