General Motors in Mexico

A breakthrough in water conservation in manufacturing

Our client’s challenge

Our client, General Motors (GM) operates a production facility within Guanajuato a water-stressed region of Mexico. In line with GM’s commitment to reduce water use across its operations by 15% by 2020, the company needed innovative solutions to conserve water at this facility.

The solution

Arcadis conducted a water audit to create a detailed understanding of how water was being used and developed an engineering feasibility study, with the goal of reducing water use. The solution was based around optimizing and upgrading the on-site wastewater treatment plant, including adding a micro-bio reactor and a three-stage reverse osmosis system. Additionally, the GM and Arcadis team improved the functionality of the wastewater treatment plant, by segregating oil and water, fine tuning existing operations, and enhancing the quality of the water being pumped from the wells by reducing silica and hardness.

The impact

As a result, GM’s facility now uses around 900,000 liters (around 238,000 gallons) less water each day – more than 329 million liters (87,000,000 gallons) saved each year. Associated benefits include savings on electricity for pumps and using less chemicals in the wastewater treatment process.

Improving quality of life

This intervention has already improved quality of life for people living in this region of Mexico, as GM now has a much lower demand for water from the stressed wells in the region. And by reducing its dependence on water in this in this water-stressed environment, this GM facility has become more resilient.


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Niels van Geenhuizen

Global Sustainable Solutions Leader +31 (0)6 2706 1819 Ask me a question