Ford Motor Company’s environmental plans for 2012 go beyond producing award-winning hybrid vehicles and releasing the Ford Focus Electric, the company has also set an aggressive water use reduction goal. Between 2012 and 2015, Ford Motor Company plans to reduce the amount of water it uses in the automotive manufacturing process by 30 percent.


This isn’t the first time that the domestic automaker has focused on water reduction. Between 2000 and 2010, water reduction measures implemented at Ford locations around the world led to a 10.5 billion gallon water savings. This represents a 62 percent reduction in water use and is equivalent to the average annual water needs of 105,000 American households.


Sue Cischke, group vice president, Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering, commented on the goal, “Water remains one of our top environmental priorities and our aggressive reduction target helps ensure continued focus on this critical resource.”


Ford uses its Hermosillo Stamping and Assembly Plant, located in Mexico’s Sonoran Desert, as one example of how water use is being reduced despite an increase in automotive manufacturing. The plant is home to the Ford Fusion, Ford Fusion Hybrid and Lincoln MKZ, three vehicles that have seen an upswing in production over the past few years. In fact, production doubled at the facility over the past decade but water use dropped by 40 percent.


Achieving this level of water conservation while doubling production was made possible through the use of a membrane biological reactor. The reactor is simply an onsite biological water treatment plant that allows the facility to turn more than half of the facility’s wastewater into water that can be reused elsewhere on site.


Biological water treatment plants are also being installed at Ford locations in Chennai, India and Chongqing, China to help Ford Motor Company reach its 30 percent water reduction goal.