Today is the UN’s World Water Day and addressing the global water crisis — as well as future-proofing their own water supply — is top of mind for many environmental managers. On World Water Day and beyond, several companies are taking action to reduce their usage and promote sustainable water management within the communities in which they operate. Here are some of our favorite announcements and water management projects.
Intel is installing a water recycling project at its Ronler Acres campus in Hillsboro, Oregon. When complete, the facility will have the potential to recycle over a billion gallons of water annually while also improving the quality of water that leaves the facility.
General Electric today presented Intel with an Ecomagination Award for the project. These awards recognize the achievements of GE’s global industrial users and top customers that implement innovative solutions driving business value and environmental benefit.
Once operational, the facility will recycle industrial water discharged from the manufacturing process for reuse in facility systems such as cooling towers, scrubbers and abatement equipment. Plus, the water discharged to the municipal wastewater treatment system will be cooler and cleaner.
“Industrial water use is expected to grow 250 percent by 2030, which is nearly one-third of all global water use,” said Deb Frodl, global executive director, Ecomagination, GE. “Today, we only reuse about 4 percent of wastewater, so using technology and processes designed to minimize water use will be key to adapting to a water constrained world.”
Intel’s water management strategy includes:
- Reduce: Investing in innovative water conservation practices within its global operations. Since 1998, Intel has conserved more than 52 billion gallons of water. In 2015, it saved 820 million gallons of water in Oregon through water conservation efforts.
- Return: Returning a significant portion of the water used back to local communities. In 2015, Intel returned 80 percent of the water its used in Oregon.
- Reinvent: Empowering others to reinvent water use by integrating smart technologies that drive conservation.
Anheuser-Busch is celebrating World Water Day by kicking off its new “Water for a Better World” campaign to improve awareness around the issue of water scarcity and the importance of water stewardship. This campaign will promote water conservation across Anheuser-Busch’s facilities, and drive employee participation in the company’s efforts to protect the environment and enhance access to clean water through community-based watershed protection projects and water donations to key NGOs.
For example, one of its brands, Stella Artois, is partnering with Water.org on the Buy A Lady A Drink campaign to sell limited edition chalices, pledging to provide five years of clean water for one person in the developing world for every chalice sold. Through this partnership, Stella Artois has already donated more than $3 million to Water.org to help provide more than 800,000 people in the developing world with access to drinking water.
Additionally, Anheuser-Busch will partner with River Network to host more than 20 river and watershed protection projects for its employees and strategic partners across the country leading up to World Environment Day. Since 2010, the partnership has engaged nearly 10,000 local employee volunteers and community members in more than 130 watershed protection cleanups.
Anheuser-Busch has cut water usage across its US operations by nearly 50 percent over the past 10 years, the company says.
Banyan Water said it helped its customers — facility managers, property owners and real estate groups — save 300 million gallons of water in 2016, resulting in a new all-time total of 2.3 billion gallons of water saved. The company’s real-time monitoring technology also detected 432 leaks, preventing more than 58,000,000 gallons of water from being wasted.
“Banyan Water has helped JVM save millions of gallons of water while maintaining healthy landscapes and making a positive impact on our budgets,” said Greg O’Berry, chief operating officer of JVM Realty in a statement.
Cummins has increased its facility water goal to a 50 percent intensity reduction by 2020 from a baseline of 2010.
The engine manufacturer says it beat its original water conservation goal — to reduce water use intensity by 33 percent by 2020 — in the third quarter of 2016, achieving a 42 percent intensity reduction or 18 percent on an absolute basis.
The revised 50 percent intensity reduction goal represents a total water savings of 763 million gallons of water since 2010.
At its facilities around the globe, the company has installed low-flow fixtures and efficient equipment, bioswales and regenerative dynos, low water use landscaping and stopped water leaks, among other efficiency efforts.
In its water management program, Cummins uses assessment tools such as the Ceres Aqua Gauge, a global water risk screen and the “true cost” of water assessment that identifies water costs embedded in activities such as pumping, electricity and chemical use.
To achieve the 50 percent reduction, Cummins will expand the work it does with its sites in water program management, including intensive engagement with higher water use locations, water balance creation and sub-metering. The company also has plans for high impact and showcase projects, such as an alternative bio-tech system for producing high quality treated wastewater for process reuse at one of its engine plants.
Cummins uses regenerative dynamometers (dynos) throughout the company to capture the mechanical energy of engines in test cells. The dynos also reduce cooling load, which allows cooling systems to be smaller and use less water.
Many Cummins buildings have specific features designed to conserve water. The bioswales at the new Distribution Business Unit headquarters in Indianapolis, for example, are part of a system designed to keep about 80 percent of rainwater on the site to use for landscaping. The bioswales collect and save water that would otherwise run into the city’s sewer system. There are plants in India and Brazil that recycle water for non-potable uses and several locations have features like low or no-water toilet facilities to help meet their water-use goals.
By 2020, Cummins plans achieve water neutrality (offset the water it uses) at 15 facilities in water-stressed communities. This goal is aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goal 6 for Clean Water and Sanitation.
Ford implemented two new water-saving technologies at its Chicago Assembly Plant toward the end of 2016 that helped the facility reduce water usage by 13 million gallons last year. The automaker expects to that number to be significantly higher in 2017 after a full year of use. Read the full story here.
And finally Stone Brewery is the latest — and possibly largest — craft brewery to make beer from recycled wastewater, aka sewage. became one of the largest names to lend its support to the use of recycled wastewater. While the California brewery only produced five barrels of Full Circle Pale Ale for a Pure Water event in San Diego, the company hopes to start selling the “toilet” beer in the future. Bottoms up.