Progress in Reducing Water Use

For more than a decade, Ford has been committed to decreasing our water use. We began our Global Water Management Initiative in 2000, setting a target of 3 percent year-over-year reductions. In late 2011, we announced a new water goal. We are now aiming to cut the amount of water used to make each vehicle by 30 percent globally from 2009 to 2015, which is currently equivalent to an average of 4 cubic meters (or 1,056 gallons) per vehicle.

We are on track to reach this goal, even as we grow our business, adding plants and expanding production to meet global consumer demand. Between 2011 and 2012, we reduced the average amount of water used to make each vehicle by 8.5 percent, putting us more than halfway toward our goal.

Between 2000 and 2012, we reduced our total global water use by 62 percent, or 10.6 billion gallons (see graphic below), by cutting the water we use in everything from cooling towers to parts washing to paint operations. That’s equivalent to the water used annually by nearly 99,000 U.S. residences, based on figures from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, or enough to fill 16,000 Olympic-size pools. We decreased the total amount of water used around our global facilities from 64 million cubic meters per year to 24 million cubic meters.

10.6 billion gallons of water is:

  • the amount of water that flows over Niagara Falls in 3.9 hours*
  • equal to the amount of annual water use for about 99,000 U.S. residences*
  • 16,000 Olympic pools*
  • 265 million loads of laundry**
  • * U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • ** California Energy Commission

Although we have exceeded expected progress toward our 2015 goal, we continue to set year-over-year efficiency targets as part of our annual environmental business planning process. For 2013, our year-over-year efficiency target is a 2 percent water use reduction per vehicle. This target represents a phase when we are building a number of new plants that have not yet fully launched.

We report on our progress toward our 2015 goal in this annual Sustainability Report and through our participation in the CDP Water Disclosure, which we joined in 2010 – the first automaker to do so.

In 2013, we began tracking process water discharge at our manufacturing plants globally. This covers water that is used during the manufacturing process and then discharged from the manufacturing plants. It does not cover water used in sanitation (e.g., restrooms, kitchens) and it only tracks water that is eventually discharged from the plant. Prior to this, some plants had been tracking process water discharge, but only on an informal basis. Now, we have made it a formal global metric for our Company. Tracking this metric will help us understand exactly where water is used within our manufacturing processes and, as a result, help us create greater efficiencies.

We are aiming to make our vehicles more efficient, while making our own operations more efficient, too. Water remains one of our top environmental priorities, and our aggressive reduction target helps to ensure continued focus on this critical resource.

Global water use per vehicle produced


Download Summary Report

Ford’s 2012/13 Sustainability Report is summarized in this 8-page downloadable document.

Visit our Downloads page for this report in full or as separate sections along with supplementary publications.