November 9, 2023 / 3 minute read
Protecting Our Most Precious Resource: Water
Written by Brian King, Executive VP, Marketing, Product Management and Sustainability
Stormwater might not seem like the most glamorous of topics, but it drives each and every decision we make here at ADS. We say it all the time, and it bears repeating: Our reason is water. And for 60 years, our products have helped capture, convey, store and treat stormwater, helping to prevent floods and manage water, our most precious resource.
Safeguarding water and protecting communities is becoming an ever-more-urgent task, as our recently released 2023 Sustainability Report notes. Climate change is prompting more frequent and increasingly volatile stormwater events like hurricanes, tornados and others, particularly in the southeastern U.S.As a company devoted to managing stormwater, we believe that we have a critical role to play in thoughtfully developing new products, raising awareness about the importance of water protection, and in building our capacity so we can provide those products to communities where they are needed.
That capacity building is part of why we are making our largest manufacturing investment to date. Last week, we announced that our state-of-the-art facility in Lake Wales, Florida is slated to open in 2025 and will produce pipes to help manage stormwater runoff throughout Florida and the southeast — areas we know are especially affected by stormwater events.
Those events are serious and deserve attention. In 2022, the U.S. saw 17 significant stormwater-related natural disasters, ranging from severe storms to tropical cyclones to flooding and drought, each causing $1 billion or more in damage. Twenty years ago, the U.S . had five storms of that magnitude. Across the U.S., groundwater shortages threaten communities’ prospects for growth and limit residents’ options.
Our headquarters in Hilliard, Ohio is part of the fast-growing Columbus metro region. Stormwater management is a crucial part of growth management: if you’ve ever seen water rushing down the street or flowing over gutters after a heavy rain, you’ve seen stormwater. Directing water away from new development and toward the watersheds that need it, in the right volumes and at the right time, helps protect people, property and the environment. All that water might land on your yard or street, but thanks to stormwater management, it all eventually flows to the nearest creek, where it enters the watershed.
Ohio recently celebrated its statewide Stormwater Awareness Week, with focused efforts to educate people about how the choices they make affect the rivers and streams that course throughout their communities. We were delighted that week to watch the city of Hilliard install some $500,000 worth of product that we donated to the city’s new Recreation and Wellness Campus. This new facility and the ADS products underneath it will help keep this valuable community resource functional and valuable for many years.
And just last month, ADS volunteers joined our friends at The Nature Conservancy to help clean up Tiger Creek Nature Preserve in Florida near Lake Wales. The preserve is home to Tiger Creek, which drains a wetland and provides habitats for rare animals and plants.
We’ve always been committed to sustainability, but we have grown to understand that our role and voice matter, too. Through our products and the communities we serve, we are raising awareness, being a vocal advocate and helping to educate about the importance of water protection. Not only is this the logical thing to do, it is also the best thing to do for our employees, our customers, our investors and all the people that benefit from good stormwater management and protection of the world's most valuable resource — water.
Our reason is water.