NEW ZEALAND – Fonterra, a multinational dairy co-operative has made a US$11 million investment to construct an advanced technology plant at Fonterra’s Darfield manufacturing site that will reduce the amount of groundwater extracted by 70%.

The new plant will use reverse osmosis method in purifying water, a technology that removes dissolved minerals, metals and other particles benefiting plumbing systems and reduces environmental footprint.

The cooperative launched a plan to help improve the quality of New Zealand’s waterways, plans that underlie its efforts to promote healthy streams and rivers, including a strong focus on sustainable farming and manufacturing.

“Thanks to the new plant we’ll save the equivalent of around 100 tanker loads of water every day,” said Robert Spurway, Head of Fonterra’s Global Operations.

“As well as reducing water use, the new technology also decreases the amount of water the site discharges for irrigation, it’s a win-win situation.”

Through its six water commitments, Fonterra said it was planning to invest US$250 million to drive a 20% reduction in water use across its 26 manufacturing sites.

The new plant was expected to be up and running by October, right in time to usher in the 2018/2019 milk season.

Fonterra Darfield manufacturing site in Canterbury is a powdered milk plant to add to other milk powder processing plants in Clandeboye, Whareroa, south Taranaki, and in Edendale, Southland.

The plant processes milk and manufactures regular UHT and instant whole milk powders.

Following a US$155.16 million investment, the site’s processing capacity was increased from 10.6 million litres of milk per day to over 15 million litres.

Fonterra says strong healthy local environments and communities are the foundation for sustainable, profitable dairy farming, and the investment works to deliver on this.