Water shortages have occurred so often in California, and are now so severe, that the state has good reason to practice water conservation. With that in mind, it’s interesting to look at the results of a new Building Operating Management survey about water efficiency actions in California.
I was particularly intrigued by the responses of facility managers who said water conservation was a high priority in their organizations. I’m willing to bet that this group is well above the national average when it comes to water efficiency practices.
Pardon the pun, but I think the results from that group justify calling the glass half full and also half empty. For example, 51 percent said they had conducted water audits. From the glass-half-empty perspective, about half of the organizations that call water conservation a high priority haven’t taken the basic step of conducting a water audit.
The numbers are better in other areas. A solid majority of these organizations reported taking or approving budgeted (69 percent) and unbudgeted (64 percent) water conservation measures since the California water emergency was declared. The top actions taken or approved: irrigation control (71 percent), water use avoidance (55 percent), faucet replacement (46 percent), toilet replacement (45 percent), and water audits (43 percent).
The pressure to conserve water is likely to grow in years to come. Consider, for example, forecasts calling for megadroughts in the Southwest. Our survey suggests that there is an enormous opportunity to make commercial and institutional facilities more water efficient. For a look at how some organizations are taking advantage of those opportunities, check out the article in the December issue on water conservation measures in California. You can also see how many organizations in the state that call water efficiency a priority have taken specific steps to conserve water — and you can do the math to see how many have not.