2017 Sustainability Report

Operational Impact


Managing water consumption is a top priority for Xylem. In 2017, we signed the CEO Water Mandate. This UN Global Compact initiative mobilizes business leaders on water, sanitation and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Endorsers of the CEO Water Mandate commit to continuous progress against six core elements of water stewardship and, by doing so, better understand and manage their own risks. In addition to our large-scale manufacturing processes, rather routine tasks that occur at hundreds of locations around the world also require the use of water. These activities include the use of water tanks to test products after repair and at high-pressure washing stations where we clean products coming back from customer sites. The scale and variety of these activities means that the solutions for reducing our usage are not one-size-fits-all. For example, at some facilities we have begun to collect rainwater for use in test tanks and use recycled water for landscaping and sanitation.

We have a number of tools at our disposal to help us limit our water consumption:

  • The Eco Project Deck is now being used at all of our facilities to identify areas for improvement.
  • The Global Water Tool, developed by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, is used to determine which Xylem sites are located in water-stressed or water-scarce areas; this tool is being used at manufacturing sites, sales and service facilities and large office-only facilities.
  • Tools to help decrease water use across our supply chain, including a water footprint calculation tool and a pilot sustainability audit program for suppliers in water-stressed basins.
Reduction in Water Intensity by 2019

Capital investments also can make a difference in water conservation techniques. At our Montecchio Maggiore site in Italy, for example, we closed the water loop for process and condition cooling through a new chiller instead of using groundwater. The new chiller helped achieve a reduction in water consumption of 50 percent.

Water Usage*
  2016 2017
Total Water Withdrawal (megaliters) 365.6 414.5
Water Intensity (megaliters/annual revenues in millions USD) 0.0971 0.0881
Percentage Decrease Relative to 2014 Baseline 8.1% 16.7%

* Values in this table have been restated.

Water Reuse*
  2016 2017
Total Volume of Water Recycled and Reused (megaliters) 19.3 15.7
Percentage of Water Recycled and Reused
(total water recycled and reused/total water withdrawal)
5.3% 3.8%

* Values in this table have been restated.

Wastewater Treatment*
  2016 2017
Wastewater Treated and Released1 (megaliters) 52.4 90.3

* Values in this table have been restated.

1 Correction of 2016 reporting errors based on the definition of treatment.

Managing Our Footprint with Our Own Product

We also are utilizing one of our own new products, HydroInfinity, at our own facilities, especially those located in water-stressed areas. HydroInfinity uses patented technology to treat contaminated water, chemical-free, to independently verified drinking water standard. Electronic sensors and remote monitoring enables continuous monitoring of the water quality.

In Cape Town, South Africa, where the water shortage problem has reached near-catastrophic level, we installed an effluent water source point on the premises and have completed the installation of storage tanks, a Xylem Lowara pump and pipe-work on site. In addition, two 5,000-liter vertical tanks for rainwater harvesting have been installed. As water scarcity intensified, we connected the HydroInfinity unit, which treats water with UV and ozone technology, for distribution of water for staff, and to save purified water for possible timeframes when water is cut. Water consumption at the Cape Town office dropped by 2 cubic meters in just one month. The aim is to further reduce consumption by 10 cubic meters by the middle of 2018.

In addition, we also installed a HydroInfinity at our Hoddesdon, UK, facility. Here, the HydroInfinity system is being used to provide drinking water to the plant’s 140 employees, reducing the facility’s reliance on municipal water.

Moving forward, we have plans to install HydroInfinity systems in a variety of Xylem facilities around the world . Here are a few examples of our future installations:

  • Montecchio, Italy: We look to harvest rainwater with the HydroInfinity system to pump into the plant, saving approximately 3,000 cubic meters per year in municipal water usage.
  • Strzelin, Poland: HydroInfinity will enable us to improve the quality of water we are using to test pumps. We will use rainwater treated with the HydroInfinity for tank refilling, which will decrease our environmental footprint by saving approximately 300,000 liters of water per year, which is about 7 percent of our total water consumption at the site.
  • Chihuahua, Mexico: HydroInfinity will be adapted to support water treatment in the sanitation process for pumps that are supplied to a beverage company, thereby reducing water usage by at least 370 cubic meters to 455 cubic meters per year.

2017 Water Performance

Our water-reduction initiatives resulted in a 9.3 percent decrease in water intensity from 2016 to 2017. This is a 16.7 percent decrease from our 2014 baseline. Additional 2017 water-reduction projects include the installation of a dry cooling system at our Montecchio, Italy, plant; eliminating water leakage at our Slaton, Texas, plant; and the sale and closure of two manufacturing facilities. And at our global manufacturing facility in Emmaboda, Sweden, we’ve reduced water consumption by 33,000 cubic meters (m3) per year, or 30 percent, since the installation of two reversible heat pumps connected to three hardening machines. We continue to work toward our goal to achieve a 25 percent reduction in water intensity by 2019. An ongoing challenge is to identify tangible water-reduction initiatives that can be deployed across our many facilities where water use varies greatly.

Xylem also recognizes the risk caused by neglecting wastewater management. All Xylem sites meet or exceed national, local and our own requirements for the return of clean and safe wastewater back into public water streams. To help meet these standards, a number of our manufacturing sites have installed onsite wastewater treatment systems. In 2017, we treated and released over 90.3 megaliters back into the environment.