Water scarcity is one of the primary challenges facing governments, businesses and individuals in many parts of the world today.
Because water scarcity also exposes companies to business risk, it is a factor that needs to be managed rapidly and effectively.
Fiat Group sees water as one of the most important natural resources to be protected, so much so that it has drawn up Water Management Guidelines that apply to all Group companies.
These provide the principles for sustainable management of the entire water cycle and place greater emphasis on reducing consumption of water resources, especially in water-stressed regions where water is a limited resource and its availability is critical to the surrounding environment and population.
We periodically map the availability of water resources around the world, correlating the quantity of water available with the quantity consumed in each region.
Areas where the Group is present are subsequently overlaid. This risk assessment identified 13 plants located in areas where water is considered a limited resource.(1) Accordingly, these plants took appropriate measures to improve water reuse and recycling.
Water withdrawal in water-stressed regions
Fiat Group worldwide (thousands of m3)
|Company and plant location||
Base line year
|Fresh water consumption of base line year||
Fresh water consumption in 2013
|Percentage variation||Absolute variation|
|Fiat Group Automobiles - Tychy (Poland)||2009||627||451||(28.1)||(176)|
|Fiat Group Automobiles - Tychy Dies Shop (Poland)||2010||6||2||(61.2)||(4)|
|FGA Engines and Transmissions - Bielsko Biala SDE (Poland)||2009||28||18||(36.9)||(10)|
|FGA Engines and Transmissions - Bielsko Biala Twin Air (Poland)||2011||7||7||6.0||—|
|Magneti Marelli - Wadeville EXH (South Africa)||2009||7||1||(83.0)||(6)|
|Magneti Marelli - Sosnowiec Ergom PCMA (Poland)||2009||29||5||(84.1)||(24)|
|Magneti Marelli - Sosnowiec ER.SI. PCMA (Poland)||2009||47||29||(37.6)||(18)|
|Magneti Marelli - Sosnowiec AL (Poland)||2009||102||68||(33.5)||(34)|
|Magneti Marelli - Sosnowiec EXH (Poland)||2009||0||3||561.5||2|
|Magneti Marelli - Bielsko Biala ShA (Poland)||2009||6||6||7.1||—|
|Magneti Marelli - Bielsko Biala SS (Poland)||2009||11||9||(16.5)||(2)|
|Comau - Shikrapur (India)||2009||6||6||14.7||1|
|Teksid - Skoczow (Poland)||2009||195||183||(6.2||(12)|
|Total thousands of m3||1,071||789||(26.3)||(282)|
As a result of improvements in water cycle management and measures taken to reuse water in industrial processes, in 2013 Fiat Group reduced overall water consumption by 3.6% compared with 2012 (from 25.9 to 24.9 million m3) and by 27.1% compared with 2010 (from 34.2 to 24.9 million m3).
Water withdrawal and discharge
Fiat Group worldwide (thousands of m3)
|Total water withdrawal||24,936||25,874||29,862||34,198|
|Total water discharge||16,196||17,321||18,839||22,365|
Water recycling resulted in 2.1 billion m3 of water saved, equivalent to the amount of water that flows over Niagara Falls over 13 consecutive days.
Water recycling index
Fiat Group worldwide (million of m3)
|Total water requirement||2,155.6||2,064.7|
|of which covered by recycling||2,130.6||2,038.9|
|of which water withdrawal||24.9||25.9|
|Recycling index (%) (2)||98.8||98.8|
Water withdrawal per unit of production
Mass-Market and Premium Brand assembly and stamping plants worldwide (m3 per vehicle produced)
Target 2020: -40%
In 2013, all Mass-Market and Premium Brand assembly and stamping plants currently in operation reduced water consumption per vehicle produced by an additional 6.1% compared with the previous year (a 34.9% reduction compared with 2010).
The reduction in water consumption without a corresponding action with respect to pollutants would cause an increase in the concentration of the latter and a decrease in the quality of discharge water. For this reason, Fiat Group pairs reducing consumption of water resources with optimizing wastewater treatment processes and constant monitoring of the relevant parameters. For 2014, each plant aims to maintain this discharge well under mandatory limits. In 2013, analysis conducted on water discharged from Fiat Group plants worldwide revealed levels of Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) up to 80% below regulatory requirements, while levels of Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) and Total Suspended Solids (TSS) were up to 97% and 91% below required limits, respectively.
The Group regularly measures and analyzes the presence in our industrial processes worldwide of certain heavy metals which are considered most material. In 2013, nickel (Ni) and zinc (Zn) were analyzed, following 2012’s analysis of lead (Pb), cadmium (Cd) and copper (Cu). These analyses provide a comprehensive view of Fiat Group’s overall impact on water quality. Specific objectives were set for levels well below legal limits.
Of 142 total plants active in 2013, 131, which generate 99.9% of the total amount of wastewater, were serviced by either an internal or external wastewater treatment system. The manufacturing activities of the remaining 10 plants generate wastewater classifiable as domestic and/or not requiring treatment.
No significant spills were reported for the Group in 2013.
Water resources significantly affected(3)by water withdrawal and/or discharge at plants
Fiat Group worldwide
Company and plant location
|Use||Protected water body||
High biodiversity value water body(4)
Teksid - Carmagnola (Italy)
Gora del Naviglio River 3.5 million
Process water effluent
(1) Water availability <1,700 m3/(person per year). Source: Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) global information system.
(2) The recycling index is calculated on the basis of total water requirement, which is the sum of water withdrawn and water recirculated in the plants.
(3) Water sources are regarded as significantly affected by water withdrawals and/or discharges if they are designated protected areas or have high biodiversity value, or if the withdrawals and/or discharges of water represent more than 5% of the average annual volume of the water body concerned. Only surface water has been taken into account. In 2013, water withdrawal never exceeded the 5% threshold at any site
(4) There is no known impact on the aquatic habitat, since the receiving water body does not have protected species and is not included on any list of extremely valuable natural habitats.
(5) Representing more than 5% of average annual volume of the water body concerned.
Saving water in Pernambuco, Brazil
The commitment to conserve water will also be applied at the new plant that Fiat Group will open in Goiana, in Pernambuco, one of the north-east states in Brazil, an area that has been drought-stricken for years. Water distribution and wastewater treatment in Pernambuco is managed by Compesa, (Companhia Pernambucana de Saneamento) which has set more stringent limits on water consumption for industrial activities than other Brazilian regulations.
When installing a new plant in such a sensitive area, special care must be dedicated to water cycle optimization. Particular attention was dedicated to designing water-optimized production processes. For example, the paint line - traditionally the most water-consuming process in the automotive industry - will have a water consumption index lower than one cubic meter per vehicle through internal recycling and careful planning of the rinsing stages.
Despite internal water use optimization, the plant’s water consumption would nonetheless be high for this specific area unless additional actions were taken. A further dramatic reduction will be achieved by sending treated wastewater back to the industrial processes. For this purpose, the wastewater treatment station design includes a recycling process that will generate a stream of high quality water for industrial reuse, drastically improving the water recycling index. This will also lead to significant economic savings.
The remaining water will be discharged with quality standards far higher than the limits set by local authorities.