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Celebrating the important work of women on World Water Day

Celebrating the important work of women on World Water Day

 March 20, 2019

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Around the world, many women enjoy working in rewarding and meaningful jobs, or volunteering their skills, to help address water conservation and efficiency. Water is a vital, yet limited resource.

Water and utilities are essential to life yet generating and processing enough energy and water to meet the demands of urbanization and population growth is a significant challenge.

In celebration of World Water Day, marked annually on March 22, Where Women Work profiles some of the impressive employers playing their part in tackling water issues worldwide. These companies offer important and innovative solutions in dealing with one of the world's most precious and limited resources - clean water.


From flood protection to nutrient control to desalination, AECOM’s goal is to ensure that its water clients have access to globally sustainable technologies, locally delivered. AECOM professionals work in and across the major markets to deliver comprehensive solutions that safeguard human health and the environment. Balancing the world’s need for safe, reliable water with protecting this critical natural resource for the future requires a deep understanding of interconnected systems.

AECOM works with clients across the entire project life cycle - from initial planning studies through final construction and operations and maintenance services - on both traditional and alternative project-delivery options (design-build, public-private partnerships and financing).

AECOM is renowned for the important water projects it has undertaken over the years. As a partner of Water For People, AECOM employees have made substantial donations to improve water and sanitation projects creating more than US$5 million in economic productivity.

AECOM supports employees in making service-based trips around the world in partnership with charitable organizations. Water features heavily in these adventures.

One of these trips involved AECOM employees visiting Guatemala.

AECOM water day
IMAGE: A water system that the Water For People charity installed at a school in Guatemala.

Another project saw Diana Estrada, a project engineer with AECOM’s Design-Build group, part of the water business line, and based in Chelmsford, Massachusetts travel to Tanzania to help install a solar pumping system in collaboration with Engineers Without Borders USA. The main purpose of the initiative was to provide means to a more reliable clean water source.

Another AECOM colleague, Salvador Bentolila, a Water/Wastewater Engineer ventured over to Kenya in order to build a rainwater harvesting system for a school made up of 250 students.


Arcadis is focused on improving the quality of life with the planet's most precious resource.

Cities, communities and businesses all rely on water to flourish. It needs to be handled carefully in a way that both enables a suitable way of life while minimizing the impact on the natural world.

Arcadis' water business line focuses on the entire water cycle - from source to tap and then back to nature. Through their wealth of experience in the water sector, Arcadis’ specialist teams of engineers, scientists and consultants around the globe are uniquely positioned to provide safe and secure water technology that is built to withstand the demands of a rapidly changing world.

From rising tides and drought to polluted reservoirs and broken pipes, the challenges faced in managing and distributing the world’s water are vast. Without effective systems and quality infrastructure the consequences for communities across the world would be unthinkable. Whatever issues Arcadis' clients are facing, wherever they happen to be in the world, the company has the specialist resources and insight to help. Whether it be protecting people and the environment, providing safe drinking water or managing wastewater safely and effectively, Arcadis has what it takes.

Arcadis' key focus regarding water is on:

  • Water Supply and Treatment - providing safe water and protecting the environment. This encompasses drinking water, wastewater and reclaimed water.
  • Conveyance and Networks - allowing water to move reliably and efficiently to solve clients' distribution, collection and drainage needs. This includes water, wastewater and stormwater.
  • Water Management - enhancing the quality, safety and adaptability of urban and coastal, river-based and delta ecosystems. This includes systems, flood management, riverine systems and integrated water resource systems/ ecosystems.
  • Industrial Water - striving to make businesses better through sustainable effective water supply, treatment, management and conveyance solutions. This covers any water work for private, industrial clients including sectors from oil & gas to food and beverage.


Ivan Menezes, CEO of Diageo, says: “We are absolutely committed to finding better ways of managing water sustainability in each part of their value chain, wherever we operate.”

The company relies on water and other natural resources and aims to use those resources responsibly, preserving them for future generations. Water is essential to Diageo's production processes and used widely throughout their value chain. It is vital to ecosystems, local economies, communities and especially to grow the crops Diageo uses. Managing their impact on water, and being good stewards of this resource, is Diageo's highest environmental priority.

Diageo's ongoing commitment to improving water efficiency around the world has seen the company substantially improve water efficiency of its distilleries and breweries globally.

The Diageo Water Blueprint defines the company's strategic approach to water stewardship. It is an integrated approach based on four core areas where they are increasing their efforts – in the sourcing of raw materials, in their own operations, within the communities in which they operate and through local and global advocacy for best practice in water stewardship. Their strategy has been expanded to encompass the company's broader global supply chain which will enable better understanding and management of their total impact on water, while focusing on water-stressed areas, particularly in emerging markets.

Diageo has an international partnership with WaterAid. It's a powerful alliance that helps advocate and deliver access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene at local, national and global levels.

In India, Diageo has combined water stewardship initiatives with programs designed to improve community access to clean water and sanitation.


Eaton's mission is to make a healthy planet work. They believe that they owe it to future generations to leave the world a little greener.

Around the world, one of the areas Eaton operates in is helping to provide reliable, efficient and safe operations for water and wastewater.

The most common liquid in the world is water. It's used in most industrial plants and is the most frequent of their liquid filters. But while water is the most common liquid - its use, state and the quality requirements when used, vary greatly.

The quality of the end product may require absolute filtration quality to a set micron size, or the filter act as a strainer to remove large particles from an incoming water source, or the pretreatment of intake or effluent ultra filtration, nano filtration or reverse osmosis filtration systems. And this is where Eaton plays a key role - because selecting the right water filter requires a review of many factors: size, shape and percentage of solids to be removed, effluent character, temperature, pressure, metallurgy requirements, whether the application is continuous or batch, and others.

And not only when it comes to equipment is Eaton leading - but the company also helps on a large scale too. For example, Eaton helps water districts and utilities improve system uptime, increase safety and improve energy efficiency with power distribution, quality and control systems. Eaton works with the consulting engineers on customized solutions for water, they support pump OEMs providing water industry customers with state-of-the-art pumping solutions, and they provide comprehensive control solutions for your local panel builders and system integrators.


EBRD water day

The EBRD region includes some of the most water-stressed countries in the world, amongst them the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean Region and Central Asia. To mitigate the risks associated with water scarcity, the EBRD invests in projects that promote water efficiency and support the introduction of innovative, water efficient technologies.

Rational water use is important for economic development, food security, environmental quality and political stability. However, many countries where the EBRD in invests still lack sufficient levels of access to water and water efficient technologies. Often, water governance and water markets are weak and provide only limited or no incentives to manage water efficiently, let alone undertake investments in new technologies that would increase water efficiency.

Furthermore, many countries in the EBRD region are vulnerable to increasing water scarcity caused by climate change impacts such as increasing temperatures and more variable precipitation. Improving water efficiency is therefore an essential part of the Bank’s work on climate change adaptation in such countries.

The EBRD is responding to these challenges by providing finance to support investments that improve water efficiency.

Read EBRD employee Altynai Nanaeva's article about a previous World Water Day in the Kyrgyz Republic.


HCL Foundation has a flagship program called HCL Samuday, an outcome of HCL’s commitment to uplift rural India. Samuday intends to develop a sustainable, scalable, and replicable model – a source code for economic and social development of rural areas in partnership with central and State Governments, local communities, NGOs, knowledge institutions and allied partners. They do this through optimal interventions across Agriculture, Education, Health, Infrastructure, Livelihood, and WASH (Water, Sanitation & Hygiene) in selected villages.

Through this program, HCL maintains a focus on supporting people living in communities where clean water is not easily accessible. For example, Shiv Devi, an Aanganwadi worker from Suthena village, is working with HCL Samuday and a part of Village Nigrani Samiti to ensure that nobody in her neighborhood defecates in the open. Her regular work involves house-to house visits during which she spreads the ‘WASH’ message. Thanks to her efforts, people of Suthena now realize that the water they drink from shallow hand-pumps is contaminated with Nitrate and Fluoride. HCL is helping Shiv in motivating families in the community to live a healthy life.


Supported by non-profit Safe Water Network India (SWN), Honeywell funds safe water stations through its corporate social responsibility program. 

Honeywell launched the first “Water ATM” in Telangana. This facility functions like an automated teller machine (ATM), except it dispenses clean drinking water instead of cash.

This initiative will enable local populations to purchase 20 liters of safe drinking water at any time of the day by swiping their smart cards against the Water ATM for a minimal charge. The stations are connected via cloud-based technology and some of them run on solar energy, thereby reducing operating costs.

Learn more about Honeywell's efforts to fund safe water solutions.


Water is vital to McDonald's business model - with agriculture accounting for 70 per cent of global freshwater usage, and a reliance on local water sheds to provide beverages to customers. As a company, McDonald's intends to develop a holistic strategy, spanning water conservation, stewardship, quality and use.

To create its strategy, McDonald's has partnered with experts such as the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the World Resources Institute to identify risks and form a stewardship approach that will drive actions and improvements across its entire value chain.  

Water is also inherently tied to McDonald’s climate strategy. Through actions it takes to meet targets across the supply chain and in company and franchised restaurants, McDonald’s seeks to reduce the water footprint of its supply chain, especially related to agriculture and row crops.

Northrop Grumman

Environmental Stewardship is key to Northrop Grumman. The company is recognized for its commitment to the environment and the work its does to minimize the footprint of its operations. Northrop Grumman's efforts go beyond its own operations and support conservation within communities. It focuses funding on efforts that contribute to greenhouse gas reduction, waste reduction and water conservation as well as to develop renewable energy sources.

Via the company's Now. platform, Northrop Grumman explains how researchers are working to the problem of water scacity - from technologies that purify polluted water to those that harvest it from thin air. A further Northrop Grumman article explores why organizations are turning to new technologies to make safe water available for everyone.

Schneider Electric

Schneider Electric is a global specialist in energy management, and published a dedicated white paper looking at the strategies companies are deploying to cope with the planet’s finite resources.

Schneider Electric's Amy Haddon says: “Water is arguably our most precious resource. It is requisite for the survival of all life on our planet. It is also finite. While water is endlessly recyclable through the hydrologic cycle, there’s only so much of the stuff, and only about 1% of it is freshwater that is usable for human consumption. “Beyond its fundamental role in our survival, water also plays a key function in any number of planetary and business activities. And our water is in trouble. Globally, water faces numerous challenges that in turn are impacting business.”

Schneider is helping companies tackle these challenges and reduce energy use, and is seeing great success – for example, its project with the City of Atlanta Department of Watershed Management to implement energy savings across its water and wastewater treatment facilities, received a nomination at the iAgua Awards.

But, there is also an important gender gap that continues to persist in the water sector. Carmen de Miguel, Offer Manager of the Water and Wastewater Segment at Schneider Electric discusses how to address gender-equality challenges and promote equality aiming to close the gap in the industry sector.

"I would highlight the technification in the water industry, the efforts to protect the resources and rationalize their use, to increase service and standard indicators under adverse economic conditions, together with the incorporation of all actors in water cycle management. There is a dynamic evolution in the sector right now, which affects not only the adoption of new technologies but also the creation of new business and work models. All this favors the incorporation of more women in the workforce and the future," says Carmen.

Schneider Carmen

Consider a career with an environmentally focused employer

Working for a company that is making a difference on an environmental scale could be extremely rewarding.

Why not use World Water Day to search and apply for a position with a prime employer for women?

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Disclosure: Where Women Work researches and publishes insightful evidence about how its paid member organizations support women's equality.


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