How about a quick rewind to your primary science lectures? It is a well-known fact that of all water on the planet, only about one per cent is easily accessible fresh surface water available for consumption by the almost eight billion humans that inhabit it. Approximately 97 per cent is salt water, while the majority of remaining freshwater is frozen in ice caps and glaciers, or difficult to access groundwater, hence all activists are pressing hard on making people acknowledge the gravity of the situation and hence use water wisely. On account of World Water Day today, Ford has released some stats that are a testimony to its water-saving efforts.
According to American carmaker Ford, two decades ago, it had set out to reduce its per-vehicle water usage by 72 per cent. By 2013, it had saved more than 10 billion gallons of water. If we allow Ford to be poetic in its analogies, then according to Ford, that amount is the same as 15,000 competition-sized swimming pools; or over 3 hours 40 minutes of thunderous Niagara Falls flow.
Ford further set itself a long-term goal of using zero fresh water in its manufacturing. That target is still in Ford’s sights, and the company has made and is making considerable steps towards ensuring that the only freshwater use at its facilities is for human consumption.
According to the data shared by Ford, at Ford’s Chennai Vehicle Assembly and Engine Plant (CVAEP), the freshwater consumption is down to 1.17 m3 per vehicle – from 7.3 m3 per vehicle a decade ago. Having identified an alternate source of greywater to treat for use in non-production activities, the water efficiency processes see it recycle almost 100 per cent of industrial wastewater for use in manufacturing.
Ford’s Sanand Vehicle Assembly & Engine Plant in Gujarat has zero water discharge, with a 110,000 m3 rainwater harvesting pond used for pallet washing, irrigation, and with plans in place to replace the cooling tower’s water with rainwater, too.
Furthermore, Ford says its Global Business Technology & Business Center in Chennai (GTBC) can also claim zero discharge, thanks to its 100 per cent reuse of treated wastewater for dual plumbing, horticulture, and cooling tower chiller. Ford GTBC – opened in 2019 – earned its Platinum green building rating at launch; the highest possible certification for sustainable buildings.
The globally recognized certificate not only factors in water conservation but also sustainable design, architecture, and building material resources; energy conservation including use of renewable energy resources; indoor environmental quality; and innovation and development. Similar efforts have been put in across Ford’s other manufacturing units globally. We need more manufacturers to step up and take initiatives like Ford to save our dear and only planet.