UNESCO warns that 2050 marks a grim deadline for our shrinking water supplies. Unfortunately, with climate change and a quickly growing population, our time to take responsibility for the future is running out. Fortunately, some companies are doing the right thing.
This article is a roundup of companies from several industries setting the bar of water stewardship higher. From tech to home construction to manufacturing, they see how much water we waste and are trying to do something about it.
Ford Motor Company
The average automobile requires 39,000 gallons of water to create, making the automotive sector one of the world's largest water consumers. Since 2000, Ford Motor Company has cut its operating water consumption by 70%, saving more than 11 billion gallons. CDP has given the manufacturer an "A" grade for its efforts to reduce water use for six years running.
Hardware on the campuses of tech giants generates a lot of heat and requires enormous amounts of water for cooling. The IT juggernaut Google intends to replace 120% of the water it uses in its buildings and data centers. Google will investigate ways to cool its data centers with alternatives to freshwater like seawater or recycled wastewater. Additionally, it will consider using on-site water resources such as treated wastewater and stormwater for landscape irrigation, office cooling, and toilet flushing.
KB Homes is one of the biggest and most well-known house builders in the US, having constructed over 650,000 homes in the previous 60 years. They now include water-saving technologies like Watersense faucets, toilets, and showerheads in new houses, helping consumers conserve water and money. As a result, homeowners who purchase KB houses can save up to $500 a year on utility costs, and KB homes also save 1.5 billion gallons of water annually.
In recognition of its efforts to assist customers and other companies in water conservation, Kohler received its seventh EPA WaterSense Sustained Excellence Award in 2021. Since its first WaterSense products reached the market in 2007, the Wisconsin-based company has saved more than 292 billion gallons of water and $5.8 billion in water and energy expenditures.
Cement requires a lot of water to produce, and with 13 facilities capable of manufacturing 22 million tons of cement annually, Holcim Limited is the largest cement manufacturer in the US. Through 2030, the corporation aims to reduce water usage in operations that produce cement, aggregates, and ready-mixed concrete by 33%, 20%, and 15%, respectively. Furthermore, 75% of its manufacturing locations will be water positive.
About 40% of the water used for irrigation by farmers is lost because of inadequate infrastructure, evaporation, and poor water management. The Toro Company aims to provide goods and technological advancements that lessen water wastage. To improve water efficiency and agricultural yields, for instance, its Aqua-Traxx drip tape allows farmers more control over the water applied to their crops. In 2021, the EPA presented The Toro Company with its seventh consecutive WaterSense award.
- Vote with Your Wallet – The companies on this list (and many others) are leveraging new technology and innovative thinking to lower stress on our primary water sources. Whenever possible, support them by using their products or services.
- Do What They Do – Sometimes, it's possible to take inspiration from people doing things right. Consider installing a stormwater catchment on your own property, for example.
- Get Social – Spread the word about what these companies are doing. If you have a social media following, consider reposting or retweeting their announcements about how they are advancing sustainable water practices.