Spotlight on Ford India’s drive for Zero Water Consumption

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HT Bureau

GUWAHATI, March 22: Of all water on the planet, only about one percent is easily accessible fresh surface water available for consumption by the almost eight billion humans that inhabit it. Approximately 97 percent is salt water, while the majority of remaining fresh water is frozen in ice caps and glaciers, or difficult to access groundwater. Two decades ago, Ford set out to reduce its per-vehicle water usage by an astonishing 72 percent. By 2013, Ford had already saved more than 10 billion gallons of water. That’s the same as 15000 competition-sized swimming pools; or over 3 hours 40 minutes of thunderous Niagara Falls flow. While an admirable target, Ford sought to do more, setting itself an aspirational long-term goal of using zero fresh water in its manufacturing. That target is still in Ford’s sights, and the company has already made considerable steps towards ensuring that the only fresh water use at its facilities is for human consumption.

At Ford’s Chennai Vehicle Assembly and Engine Plant (CVAEP), fresh water consumption is down to an incredible 1.17 m3 per vehicle – from 7.3 m3 per vehicle only a decade ago. Having identified an alternate source of grey water to treat for use in non-production activities, the smart water efficiency processes see it recycle almost 100 per cent of industrial waste water for use in manufacturing. Ford’s Sanand Vehicle Assembly and Engine Plant in Gujarat has zero water discharge, with a 110,000 m3 rain water harvesting pond used for pallet washing, irrigation, and with plans in place to replace the cooling tower’s water with rainwater, too. Ford’s Global Business Technology and Business Center in Chennai (GTBC) also claims zero discharge, thanks to its 100 percent reuse of treated wastewater for dual plumbing, horticulture, and cooling tower chillers.

The globally recognised 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 environment quality; and innovation and development.

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