When we talk about a sustainable future, we accept the proposition that everybody should have access to fair shares of food, shelter, healthcare and water. This is much easier said than done.
A big part of the solution is for companies like Xylem to do their part in helping to drive sustainable development. This means growing our business and carrying out our main mission of helping to enable a water-secure future. We must also commit to continuous improvement: finding ways to do this work more efficiently, safely and more effectively each and every day.
In 2015, Xylem and our employees demonstrated our continued commitment to advancing sustainable development and creating a water-secure future by introducing more efficient products, engaging young people in the search for solutions, and embracing the importance of water on a personal level through their work and their volunteer activities and contributions to Xylem Watermark, our corporate citizenship program.
Xylem is a founder and long-time supporter of the Stockholm Junior Water Prize, which recognizes high-school students throughout the world for forward-looking water-related research. The 2015 winner — Perry Alagappan from Houston, Texas — created a first-of-its-kind filter that removes more than 99 percent of heavy metal contaminants from drinking water and industrial wastewater.
Xylem’s Saajhi treadle pump uses human weight and motion to move water and was designed to help smallholder farmers in rural areas irrigate their land more efficiently. The pump — which won a 2015 Silver Edison Award for inventiveness in the agricultural category — has already boosted production for rural farmers in Africa, Asia, and Central and South America, tripling crop yield while reducing labor and saving water compared to traditional furrow irrigation.
With training from Xylem colleagues, a group of volunteer students and hydrologists used our donated FlowTracker flow-measuring instrument to conduct the first survey of the downstream effects of Kathmandu’s pollution on the Bagmati River. On a regular basis, thousands of people living along the Bagmati in Nepal wade into the river to remove trash — much of it generated from Nepal’s capital city of Kathmandu. The river is a vital water source that they depend on for their water needs. The FlowTracker was employed in April 2015 — a day after 100,000 locals took part in the river clean-up — to create a flow baseline and explore changes in pollution. “We put a powerful tool in the hands of a committed group of people to help them rescue their sacred river,” says Janice Landsfeld, a product manager for Xylem’s Analytics business.
Solving Water Starts With Each of Us.
On World Water Day 2015, many Xylem employees around the world shared their thoughts about “what water means to me.” Their written answers, many of which focused on the importance of working for a company dedicated to solving water issues, were posted throughout our facilities as a way to further inspire their colleagues.
In 2015, Xylem employees engaged students in solving tomorrow’s water challenges. In New York, Xylem engineers organized and judged the first “Let’s Solve Water Challenge” that encouraged high school-age engineers to design an original water filtration device. And in several U.S. states, Xylem employees visited fifth grade classrooms, conducting hands-on activities and presentations to educate students about the importance of water.
Xylem partnered with the clean energy company Rentricity to create a suite of products that convert excess pressure in water mains into renewable electricity. With our pumps, these systems use existing water pressure and flow inside the water line to spin a small generator and create energy — instead of dissipating the extra pressure through valves. The energy-recovery solution is now being piloted at a water distribution center in Pennsylvania, and Xylem and Rentricity are exploring ways to integrate our smart sensors, monitoring instruments and water quality technologies into future Rentricity systems.
In 2015, Xylem Watermark Brings Hope to Hundreds of Thousands
Xylem Watermark delivers urgently needed water to people in water-starved regions and disaster zones. In 2015, our signature corporate citizenship program engaged Xylem employees in carrying out water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) projects that benefited more than nearly 160,000 children, families and earthquake survivors in nine countries around the world.
Working with our nonprofit partners, employees built clean water towers and storage tanks at schools in seven different countries, spent a week in India to assess pressing water needs in various regions, provided WASH education to students in China, and made contributions to the Xylem Watermark fund that helped rehabilitate community water systems after earthquakes devastated Nepal in April 2015.
As a result of its significant impact on people around the globe, Xylem Watermark was honored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation with the 2015 Corporate Citizenship Award for Best Health and Wellness Program.
A key element of Xylem Watermark’s success is its strong focus on delivering sustainable solutions that will benefit the local community long after the initial project is complete.
For example, Xylem volunteers use a customized curriculum, developed in partnership with Planet Water Foundation, to teach students about germs through games or with coloring books, empowering them to become WASH teachers for their families and communities. A recent impact report showed that participants in the curriculum experienced an 80 percent decrease in diarrheal episodes, versus a 27 percent increase among children not participating in the program.
In addition, we participate in Water For People projects that employ a train-the-trainer model to engage local leaders to serve as role models and mentors within their communities. After volunteering to monitor water and sanitation facilities across four districts in West Bengal, India, Nabeegh Subhani, a Xylem sales manager from Canada, remarked, “I saw that by providing long-term water solutions and WASH education, Xylem Watermark is truly making a lasting impact on the lives of children and their families.”
Click here to view video highlights of Xylem volunteers working with Planet Water Foundation in December 2015 to build gravity-fed water towers for a school in Cambodia, and click here to visit the Xylem Watermark site to learn more about this impactful program that is creating a sustainable future for millions of people on our planet.