Ford to slash water usage in vehicle production by 72% by 2020

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Ford is looking to reduce its use of drinking water in vehicle manufacturing by nearly three-fourths by 2020.

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The company is aiming to reduce its water usage per vehicle by 72 percent, which would mean that the carmaker will have saved approximately 10 billion gallons of water since the turn of the millennia – enough to fill over 15,000 competition-sized swimming pools.

To put these numbers into perspective, it means that for every one gallon (3.78 litres) of water Ford used in manufacturing in 2000, it aims to use about one litre by 2020.

“With many of our plants located in water-stressed regions around the globe, we’re focused on responsible water stewardship in our operations,” says Bruce Hettle, Group Vice President, Global Manufacturing & Labor Affairs.

“We aim to ensure a stable water supply for our facilities, while working with local communities to help ensure their needs are met.”

This achievement is being attributed to the use of new technologies such as its 3-wet paint process and minimum quantity lubrication – saving hundreds of thousands of gallons of water per year.

“It will continue to roll out real-time water metering using innovative technologies to aggressively manage water use. The company also conducts ongoing water assessments to determine where new water-saving processes can be implemented,” Ford said in a statement.

Kim Pittel, Vice President, Sustainability, Environment, & Safety Engineering, said Ford set out to reduce water use in 2000 with its Global Water Management Initiative.

She said the company’s strategy aligns with core elements of the CEO Water Mandate, a private-public initiative launched by the UN Secretary General in 2007 and adopted by Ford in 2014.

“Ford recognizes the human right to water. Setting an aspirational goal of zero water withdrawal for its manufacturing processes and endorsing the CEO Water Mandate are all public demonstrations of this,” Ms Pittel added.

“We’ve not only moved to reduce water in our own facilities, but we are now sharing our leading practices for decreasing water use with our suppliers, and multiplying our impact.”

Ford is one of eight companies to earn an “A” rating for its actions to conserve water by CDP – the world’s only global environmental disclosure agency – and the only North American company to receive the agency’s highest honour for corporate water stewardship.