US-based beer brewing company MillerCoors is reported to have used 15 billion fewer gallons of water across its value chain last year, which is 16.9% less than in 2015 and equivalent to more than 500 million kegs of beer.

Changes in farming techniques have contributed to the reduction, including the introduction of new tools and irrigation initiatives that use less water.

Reportedly, the new techniques have increased brewery efficiencies and helped produce high-quality barley.

MillerCoors community affairs director Karina Diehl said: "When it comes to water savings at our breweries and across our agricultural system, 2016 was a banner year at MillerCoors.

"We're proud of the water efficiencies achieved at our breweries by our passionate and innovative employees, and we are proud of our long-standing partnerships with our growers. These partnerships span multiple generations and are a driving force behind using less water in 2016.

"While this was a unique year, we are committed to developing innovative ways to use less water across our system for years to come." 

"We are committed to developing innovative ways to use less water across our system for years to come."

The company researches and develops water conservation techniques to grow barley more sustainably in its Showcase Barley Farms in Idaho and Colorado. The company also uses precision irrigation technologies and practices, as well as soil improvements and companion cropping.

Best practices from Showcase Barley Farms are shared through the company's barley programme, which provide an opportunity for growers to obtain and share information on how to meet the company's high standards.

The company noted that partnering with growers on environmental stewardship through its barley programme reduces risks for both parties and allows them to work directly with farmers to determine the techniques that are best suited for their specific land.

Last year, the company introduced the Grower Portal, a digital platform for information gathering designed to further improve water savings and lead to data sharing among growers.

The water reduction initiatives are expected to help the company achieve its 2020 goal to manage and reduce agricultural risks in key barley-growing regions.

In addition, the company is working alongside Molson Coors to develop new 2025 Global Goals, which will include water stewardship targets.