More water is used to manufacture a car than to fill a swimming pool.Every manufactured product requires water. Some industries are more water-intense than others. 10 litres of water are used to make one sheet of paper. 91 litres are used to make 500 grams of plastic.
Industrialization can drive development by increasing productivity, jobs and income. It can provide opportunities for gender equality and youth employment. However, industry’s priority is to maximize production rather than water efficiency and conservation.
Global water demand for manufacturing is expected to increase by 400% from 2000 to 2050, which is much larger than other sectors. The main increases will be in emerging economies and developing countries. Many large corporations have made considerable progress in evaluating and reducing their water use and that of their supply chains. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are faced with similar water challenges on a smaller scale.
The business case for water efficiency frequently requires a financial trade-off. Investment in efficient water treatment technology or cooling processes may have longer payback periods than the immediate returns of alternative short-term investment in production.
Technology and smart planning reduce the use of water, and can improve the quality of wastewater. Some progressive textile manufacturers have introduced technology that ensures the water coming out of the mill is as clean or cleaner than the water coming in from the town's drinking water. Large beverage companies are also improving their water use efficiency and have over the past 10 year substantially reduced the water used in their manufacturing plants.
Water World Day 2015: Water is industry