California Businesses Could Save Enough Water to Supply San Francisco, San Diego, and Los Angeles


Images via NRDC

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) reports that by implementing a few water saving techniques, California's businesses could make a big impact on easing the pressure of the last few dry years. In fact, they could save more than enough water to meet the needs of the three major cities of San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles, all while making business more cost effective and cleaning up water supplies. The report, entitled Making Every Drop Work: Increasing Water Efficiency in California’s Commercial, Industrial and Institutional (CII) Sector, outlines how businesses can improve water efficiency, which will then improve water quality on the whole.

The report reveals a few of the water saving possibilities:

Commercial dishwashers use 25 percent of the water in commercial kitchens. A water-efficient commercial dishwasher would reduce that water use by 25 percent. Commercial kitchens can also save up to $1,050 a year on energy and water bills with a water-efficient pre-rinse spray valve, and cut faucet water use and related bills in half with a low flow faucet aerator, which run less than $5 each.

The average hotel will use more than 604,000 gallons of water every year just to wash bed sheets and towels. If that hotel installs a water-efficient washing machine, it can cut that number by 38 percent.

Landscaping, such as at office parks, schools, parks and street medians, is responsible for one-third of the CII sector’s water use. But with smart irrigation controllers that adjust for weather conditions, commercial-sized landscapes can reduce water use by 40-50 percent.

Restrooms are responsible for 15 percent of CII water use. But low-flow showerheads, which can be purchased in bulk for $5-12 each, can save two to 3.5 gallons of water per shower, and more efficient toilets and urinals could save 35,000-64,000 gallons a year.

A lot of businesses are already taking steps to reduce water use and improve accounting practices, which is savvy considering Governor Schwarzenegger has called for a 20 percent reduction in per capita water use by 2020. Might as well get cracking as soon as possible. And while the report highlights these businesses that are already on the move to reduce water consumption and improve use techniques, it also goes a long way to show businesses that aren't moving as swiftly where they can get started.

Water is a serious issue in businesses, especially in states like California that are dry yet densely populated and has a strong agricultural industry. Seeing businesses significantly improve their use of the resource and account for it is more than just encouraging news, it's absolutely necessary.

More on Water Use in Business
Companies Should Conserve Water and Disclose Water Use Says New Report by Pacific Institute
Accountants Already Getting Savvy on Water Footprint Reporting
Graphic Of The Day: Historical Water Use And Scheduled Depletions Of The Colorado River System

Tags: Corporate Responsibility | Drinking Water | Environmental Footprint | Water Crisis

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