Water Conservation is one of L&T’s most urgent missions, central to its sustainability agenda. One of the earliest corporate houses to realise the criticality of its water footprint, all of L&T’s manufacturing campuses across India including office campuses such as Chennai HQ, Knowledge City in Vadodara, and Leadership Development Academy (LDA) at Lonavla were declared water positive by an independent certification agency recently, making it one of the few industrial houses in the country to achieve such a distinction.
DNV GL Business Assurance India Pvt. Ltd. – an independent certification firm after a thorough examination of various water conservation measures put in place by L&T across its 24 campuses, conferred the water positive status on the said locations.
Water positive status is given to a manufacturing location only when the amount of water withdrawn for industrial usage is less than the amount of water given back to society and nature. As per the most recent statistics, L&T’s total water credit (returned to society and nature) was 4,125 million litres while debit (utilization) stood at 3,900 million litres.
Water positivity of all L&T campuses is a key initiative taken as part of L&T’s sustainability roadmap 2021. A water positive status reaffirms L&T’s commitment and rigour towards water efficiency as part of its corporate sustainability programme. Recognising water stewardship as a key driver for sustainable business, L&T has long been constructing water harvesting structures and water treatment and recycling facilities across its campuses in India.
Besides achieving zero waste water discharge status at all its 28 major campuses – zero waste water discharge status is achieved when wastewater is treated and reused within the premises and no wastewater is discharged outside – and constantly bringing down water intensity (water consumption per employee) at campuses and project sites and harvesting more than 408 million liters of rain water at all major campuses, the company’s water conservation efforts include a number of programmes which help communities living outside its campuses and in some cases far-flung locations facing acute water shortages.
As part of the effort it helps build check dams and reservoirs that help communities in a variety of ways. For instance, through L&T Public Charitable Trust, it has built 200 check dams since 2008 in the tribal areas of Thane district of Maharashtra where these dams have helped made available 1200+ million liters of water for the people throughout the year. Availability of water has meant that farmers in the area are able to grow two crops and enter vegetable farming instead of relying purely on the monsoon and growing just one crop. The dams have also helped recharge 210 open wells and tube-wells and increase the ground water level by 0.25 m to 0.3m.
No longer having to struggle for water and the option to do farming throughout the year has meant that a large number of youth in these parts no longer migrate to the cities in search of work. Also school children, especially girls no longer have to accompany their mothers as they walk long distances to fetch water for daily use and miss school.As part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), L&T also undertakes Integrated Community Development (ICD) Programme in selected areas of the country. Project area selection is done on the basis on water stress in the area (including availability of water, quality of available water, climate change impact) and human development index (life expectancy, maternal and child mortality, education index and standard of living and availability of sanitation facilities). The projects aim at integrated development involving conservation and supplementation of natural resources (Water, Land, Forest, Livestock and Community) and going forward also impacting the health, education and livelihood status of the community.
The ICD programs are laid out for a period of 4-5 years and include watershed development projects, building community awareness on water, building of sanitation facilities and water conservation measures. The programmes also include providing education support to schools, and health development support to community. The projects plan to ensure availability of water for the community for drinking and agricultural purposes, alleviation of poverty, community awareness on civic issues, improving skills of the local youths, capacity building activities for the community, and women’s participation in decision-making process leading to overall empowerment of the community.
In addition to the ICD programme L&T provides complete water supply and treatment solutions. With its ‘concept to commissioning’ capability covering design, detailed engineering, procurement, project management and execution, the company’s green product & services portfolio related to water includes: Urban & rural water supply; Industrial water supply and treatment plants for recycling; Water treatment plants; Waste water treatment and network; Refurbishment of treatment plants; Lift irrigation projects; Rehabilitation of canals; SCADA Software; and Identification of Unaccounted for Water (UFW).
Over 20 million people in India have benefited from L&T’s involvement in water infrastructure projects. L&T has an experience of constructing over 51,000 Kms of water and wastewater pipeline networks and more than 4,000 MLD of water, wastewater and effluent treatment plants. It is not for nothing that the Water & Effluent Treatment (WET) business is India’s largest water infrastructure organization!
L&T recognizes water stewardship as a key driver for a sustainable business and as significant as the water positive status of its 24 campuses is in harnessing the natural capital, we at L&T believe that we’re just getting started.