Leading alcoholic beverage production company Diageo India is making sustainability a core part of its values. Using innovative technology that turns air into water, Diageo will become the first company of its kind to use sustainably sourced water in its products. Considering the current crisis of water scarcity in India, such practices and others could serve as a necessary model for manufacturing in water-stressed countries.
Water Scarcity in India
India is currently experiencing its worst water crisis to date. A report that the Government of India released this past June revealed that changes to the country’s typical monsoon season and surging exploitation of groundwater are increasing water scarcity at an alarming rate.
The policy commission responsible for the report, the National Institution for Transforming India, estimated 600 million Indians to be living in high to extreme water stress. But this number will likely only grow. By 2030, millions more will face water scarcity in India as the demand for water doubles the actual amount available.
The Indian state of Rajasthan in particular is witnessing the early effects of these recent trends. Of the state’s 302 blocks, 219 are overexploiting their groundwater, according to a usage report that the government released in 2022.
Initiatives such as the National Groundwater Management Improvement Program, or Atal Bhujal Yojana, hope to educate those in the agriculture sector responsible for much of the overuse. The World Bank is supporting the plan, which focuses in part on incentivizing farmers to reduce their use of irrigation systems through equivalent compensation for the energy saved.
The SOURCE® Hydropanels that Diageo is installing in Rajasthan will operate without electricity, and create water rather than take it. Using patented SOURCE® Hydropanels, fans powered by solar energy draw in air and trap the water vapor within. The condensed water then accumulates in a reservoir to await the addition of minerals that make it ready to drink.
This innovative technology by SOURCE Global, PBC is unlike any the world has seen before. Although invented less than 10 years ago in 2014, Hydropanels are now producing water across the globe in locations like South Africa, the Philippines and the United Arab Emirates. These installations provide water for schools, communities and resorts. SOURCE’s collaboration with Diageo India, however, is the first of its kind.
On November 30, 2022, Diageo India announced its partnership with SOURCE Global. The stewardship initiative aims to install 200 Hydropanels in Alwar, Rajasthan, on a farm of their own building. Within six months of installation, the panels should generate 9,000 liters of water. After a year, that amount should triple to 27,000 liters per month. The water produced will then go into the production of Diageo India’s premium malt whiskey, Godawan.
The partnership is part of Diageo’s Society 2030: Spirit of Progress program. Created just last year, the program exists to ensure the company’s practices align with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). By 2026, it aims to replenish more water than water-stressed regions use. Additionally, in 2030, it hopes to use 30% less water in every drink it makes.
Considering Diageo PLC is responsible for the distribution of top alcohol brands including Smirnoff, Ketel One and Captain Morgan, this sustainable mindset has the potential to serve as a model in the production industry. As summarized by SOURCE Global Brand President, Neil Grimmer, “…Diageo India is serving the growing demand for premium, sustainable products in an incredibly unique and powerful way.”
– Rachel Smith