Guruprakash Sastry, Regional Manager, Infrastructure and Green Initiatives, Infosys, reveals how the tech bellwether has managed to reduce its water consumption since 2008-09.
What are the technologies and strategies Infosys has in place for water management?
At Infosys, fresh water consumption is solely for the purpose of human sustenance and not for production purposes. Hence, we do not significantly impact water sources. Recognising the grave issues of water scarcity, Infosys started focused efforts to manage water efficiently back in 2008.
We design our buildings with the most optimal standard of fresh water requirement i.e., 16 litres per capita per day (LPCD), which is nearly one-third of the requirement of the National Building Code. Our strategy revolves around three aspects - reduce, recycle and reuse. We have implemented several water-efficient fixtures and technologies, including pressure compensating aerators, waterless urinals and key valves, among others, to reduce our water consumption. We are also recycling 100 per cent waste-water in our sewage treatment plants and reusing it for cooling, flushing and landscaping within our campuses.
Our focused efforts on constructing recharge wells and lakes across campuses are also helping us to sequester maximum amounts of rainwater, leading to increased groundwater levels. Above all, we are continuously monitoring our water use through smart metering to eliminate wastage and optimise consumption. As a result, this year, we have been able to reduce our per capita fresh water consumption by about 40 per cent compared to 2008 levels. This translates into an avoided use of about 5.9 billion litres of water in the last eight years. This has helped us reduce operational costs and dependencies on municipal supply of water.
Overall, what impact has rainwater harvesting and the other initiatives had?
We believe that rainwater harvesting is a logical solution to alleviate the acute water shortage in both rural and urban India. We harvest rainwater for the purpose of increasing the groundwater levels and for potable purposes. We do this through rooftop rainwater harvesting and deep-well injection systems. Rainwater from the roof is directed and stored in an underground collection tank, filtered, treated, and then used for domestic purposes.
In fiscal year 2015, 42 per cent of the freshwater requirements of one of our buildings in Bengaluru were met from harvesting rainwater during the monsoon months. Rainwater is also collected and directed deep into the ground through injection wells, thereby increasing the groundwater tables.
Till date, with persistent efforts, we have installed, in total, 149 recharge wells, having a total capacity of about 7.45 million litres per day, for groundwater recharge across different campuses in India. We have also constructed 25 lakes across our campuses to harvest rainwater.
Our goal is to harvest 100 per cent of rainwater falling on our campuses. Focused efforts on sequestering rainwater are enabling us to harvest rainwater to a large capacity and also increasing the groundwater tables to enhance the availability of water to the neighbouring communities.
For example, we have taken up rainwater harvesting in our Mangalore campus (located on a hill) through groundwater recharge by setting up lakes. Due to this, the water is percolating slowly through laterite soil in the hill and is available throughout the year for the communities living in the foothills.