Mr. Venu Shanbhag, Executive Director, Grindwell Norton Ltd (Saint Gobain Group)

Need For Water Conservation


“Water is the driving force of all nature.” Leonardo da Vinci

Every day we hear about the water scarcity that is affecting and impacting many parts of the world including parts of India. Studies show that over 40% of the global population is currently experiencing water shortages and may get worse in the years to come. Despite a large part of the planet earth being covered by water, only a small fraction of this is freshwater adaptable for human usage.

Hence sustainable access to clean water will be one of the major challenges that we need to face with a sense of urgency. Water conservation is essential for several reasons:

  • Sustainability: Freshwater is a finite resource, and conserving it is crucial to ensure that future generations have access to clean water. India is home to 16% of the world's population, but only 4% of the world's freshwater resources. Conserving water is crucial to ensure that future generations have access to clean water.
  • Environmental protection: Water conservation helps to reduce the strain on natural habitats and ecosystems, preserving biodiversity. India's natural habitats and ecosystems are under strain from pollution and overuse. Water conservation can help to reduce this strain, preserving biodiversity.  
  • Cost savings: Using water efficiently can help to reduce water bills and the costs associated with water treatment and delivery.
  • Energy savings: Water conservation can also reduce energy consumption, as it takes energy to pump, treat, and heat water.
  • Drought resilience: India is prone to droughts and water scarcity. Conserving water can help communities to better withstand periods of drought and water scarcity.

Thera are sometime tested and simple ways to conserve water which are practiced by Corporates in India include:

  • Rainwater harvesting: Collecting and storing rainwater for later use can help to reduce reliance on groundwater and other freshwater sources.
  • Fixing leaks: Repairing leaks in pipes and faucets can help to reduce water waste in homes and businesses.
  • Water-efficient equipment and appliances: Using water-efficient equipment in the production processes as well as day today use appliances, can help to reduce water consumption.
  • Raising awareness: Educating all the stake holders about the importance of water conservation and providing tips for reducing water use can help to encourage water-saving behaviors.

In one way that Corporates in India can help is by working with local authorities and NGO’s in the rejuvenation of water bodies in the areas that they operate. This can be done through:

  • Partnerships: Partnering with local organizations and government agencies to support restoration and conservation projects for water bodies.
  • Funding: Providing funding for research, restoration, and conservation efforts for water bodies.
  • Employee engagement: Encouraging employees to participate in volunteer activities, such as clean-up events, to help restore and protect water bodies.
  • Sustainable practices: Implementing sustainable business practices, such as reducing water usage and preventing pollution, to minimize the impact on water bodies.

I derive my motivation from the work being done by a young gentleman named Boyan Slat who started The Ocean Cleanup. The Ocean Cleanup is a non-profit organization that develops advanced technologies to rid the world's oceans of plastic. The organization aims to tackle the problem of plastic pollution in the ocean by using advanced technologies to remove plastic waste from the ocean's surface, rivers, and coastlines. The Ocean Cleanup's goal is to prevent plastic pollution from entering the ocean in the first place, by intercepting it in rivers and on land before it reaches the ocean.

In Saint-Gobain’s Sriperumbudur facility for Glass Manufacturing we have developed two Rainwater harvesting tanks capable of collecting and storing 152 Million Liters of rain water. The rainwater is routed from the roof tops through pipelines to the rainwater harvesting ponds. This provides for most of the water we use for Industrial and other uses in the facility. Apart from this, we identify and execute multiple projects on Reducing, Recycling, Reusing and Recovering water on a continuous basis.

We as responsible members of the Corporate community should set an exemplary standard in driving the efforts on water conservation.

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