Breakfast Meeting on ‘Save Water – Innovation and Best Practices’

AMCHAM’s Tamil Nadu Chapter held a breakfast meeting on July 25th in Chenni. Mr. Vivek Vanmeeganathan, Executive Committee Member – Tamil Nadu Chapter, AMCHAM chaired the meeting. The guest speakers included Mr. Arun Subramaniam, Founder, Earth Fokus, Mr. Beumer Rayen, General Manager, Ford India and Mr. Bijay Mukherjee, Head, Corporate Workplaces, Cognizant India.

 

The meeting commenced with a welcome by Mr. Vivek Vanmeeganathan who also set the tone for the topic of the day’s presentation. Chennai’s water crisis has forced the city’s ten million residents into survival mode and are forced to make do with what they have — a dwindling and limited supply of water. The city’s average annual rainfall is 140 cm per year, but most of the rain water just drains into the sea. So, what caused this massive water crisis, in India’s cities? One major reason is the supply of piped water. When people got water at their houses, why bother about the common lakes, tanks and ponds?

 

The first presentation was made by engineer-turned-entrepreneur Mr. Arun Subramanian who devised an innovative aerator to reduce water consumption and use it intelligently through a product called QuaMist and Ecomist. The nozzle-like structure converted the flow of water into mist and thereby reduced wastage and can save several kilo liters of water, in a large corporate IT facility. A tiny prism-shaped nozzle with three parts — a washer with filter, nozzle and a cap, can be fixed by anyone and turned clockwise for mist mode and anti-clockwise for flow mode. The whole concept revolves around atomization where water gets converted into sprinkles or droplets. When it comes with a certain force, water becomes mist. On an average, an individual wastes 150 liters of water but with mist, it is believed we can save 95% of water. This very small and inexpensive device has now been fitted to taps in corporate offices, factories, shopping malls and homes. The company hopes to contribute in saving millions of liters of water that is otherwise wasted.

 

The next presentation was made by Mr. Beumer Rayen, who explained how Ford’s Chennai vehicle assembly and engine plant has for the past several years worked hard at minimizing the use of water in the manufacturing process. As a signatory to the UN Global Compact Water Mandate, Ford appreciates the need to manage water sustainably. The company has set long-term aspirational goals: to achieve zero water withdrawal in its manufacturing processes and to use freshwater only for human consumption. The Ford plant in Chennai has achieved zero liquid discharge and has also installed equipment to harvest rain water to further reduce the use of drinking water. Over 3,000 cubic meters of rainwater was harvested for use in 2016. The plant uses 100% treated water which is recycled and reused within the plant property. All water needs for the manufacturing processes, toilets, urinals and landscape are met through recycled water. The Ford Chennai plant uses the least amount of fresh water per car in its manufacturing process and is a world record.

 

Mr. Bijay Mukherjee of Cognizant shared the company’s best practices and explained how it has adopted innovative water-saving methods by installing special nozzles into washbasin taps, which reduce the water flow to a mist by atomizing the water into fine droplets, bringing down water consumption by 80% and preventing wastage. It ensures that a lot of water is saved when a person uses the tap. The company has switched over to biodegradable plates in all its cafeterias, temporarily closed the shower facilities at its gyms and minimized the washing of utensils in campuses by cafeteria vendors. Even the water discharged by the air conditioning plant is collected and re-used in the facility. Due to these measures, the company has been able to further optimize water consumption. Cognizant has also created an online forum for employees to share ideas and best practices around water conservation.

 

The meet concluded with an insightful interactive session. AMCHAM requested all participants to take back the message of water conservation to their workplaces and homes. The combined effort of all is necessary to conserve this precious commodity.