Fastlane

GM Water Efficiency Strategy Plays Small Role in Big Issue

It’s no secret that water is a fundamental building block for life.

No person on Earth can sustain themselves without it, which makes the fact that 780 million people lack access to clean water all the more alarming.

This week, leaders from around the world convened in Sweden for World Water Week to discuss why we all need to cooperate when it comes to water scarcity.

In the manufacturing industry, water use is not a major resource as in other industries. But still, we recognize the far-reaching social and environmental implications that widespread water scarcity are likely to have in the future, which is why we implement responsible water management.

Our 2020 commitment reflects a strong water management plan that has long been in place at our global manufacturing facilities, which account for approximately 85 percent of our water use, as well as our non-manufacturing sites worldwide. We are committed to reducing water intensity by 15 percent by 2020.

To date, we have identified eight GM facilities as being in water-stressed watersheds, as defined by the World Resources Institute Annual Renewable Water Supply per person methodology. In addition to this process, we also conduct local environmental assessments and watershed due diligence.

In these water-stressed locations, which include sites in Australia, China, Kenya, Mexico and South Africa, we use best practices for water use through reduction, recycle, and reuse.

Our Joint Venture plants in China demonstrate water best practices through reuse of reverse osmosis (RO) reject water as make up in our paint air pollution control system, using softened water in-lieu of RO for humidification, and installing low volume nozzles in shower rooms.

The world water problem will not be solved overnight, but it’s encouraging to see leaders from around the world coming together to spend a week to try and figure out how to get on the right path toward a water solution.

At General Motors, we look at efficiency and how we use our resources from a holistic perspective, which includes how we use our water.

It might be a small part of our production, but it’s a big part of the world we share with others.

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