Companies such as HP are using new smart technologies to better manage water infrastructures to save money, reduce wasted water, and achieve economic initiatives such as reducing total potable water consumption by 2025. Large companies such as Goldman Sachs, and the UK Government’s Department of Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) have embraced the findings of the CDP Water Disclosure Project and started implementing initiatives that take broad and long-term views and actions to improve water management. Insights regarding how HP manages its irrigation water, how rising water costs are affecting communities, and how climate change impacts the amount of available water are provided below.
- The company's 2018 Sustainability Report states that global potable water consumption was 2,997,000 cubic meters which was 6% less than 2015 but 8% more than 2017 due to business growth and improved data. HP is the first company to disclose a complete water footprint.
- The company's water footprint is comprised of the water consumed by HP suppliers in the operations, associated with the generation of electricity by suppliers, in HP operations, associated with generation of electricity used by HP products, and associated with the manufacturing of paper used by HP customers with HP products.
- HP's Earth Day campaign aimed to eliminate single use plastic water bottles from the Palo Alto campus and 500 employees pledged to use reusable bottles or other alternatives. The company installed water filtration systems across the campus and offered alternatives in the cafeteria such as reusable drink options and glass and aluminum options. The Earth Day campaign extended to all 200 HP sites around the globe.
- Palo Alto has some of the highest-quality water that exceeds all state and federal regulations for drinking water in the US. This has caused some to commit to reusable water bottles due to the increasing installation of refill stations and the high quality of water from existing water fountains and tap water.
- HP uses Pure n Natural Systems for water filtration systems for its campuses.
Irrigation Water, Domestic Water, Reclaimed Water
- HP's irrigation system uses water from City of Palo Alto irrigation water, City of Palo Alto domestic water, and onsite reclaimed water. The company's campus is located in Palo Alto and has 450,000 square feet of turf.
- HP has partnered with Banyan Water and uses the company's Irrigation Insight solution to meet HP's water reduction goals to reduce its potable water consumption by 15% by the year 2025. Since HP started using Banyan's total water management system in 2017, the company has reduced its water usage by 42% saving over 3 million gallons of irrigation water on its Palo Alto campus.
- HP recycled or reused 415,000 cubic meters throughout global operations which is 12.2% of its total water consumption. This includes 407,000 cubic meters of NEWater and 8,000 cubic meters of sewage treatment plant water for landscaping and indoor plumbing fixtures. 2,000 cubic meters of rainwater was collected for cooling towers and the company plans to expand the use of rainwater capture systems in 2019 in Barcelona for irrigation.
Banyan's Water Management
- Banyan implements IoT technology with Stantec's onsite recycling facility "enables HP to pull significantly cheaper groundwater" into the water system, then the software manages tank levels ensuring that low-cost water is used first, followed by irrigation water, and domestic water is pulled last.
- Banyan Water helped HP to reach 40% of its total global consumption reduction goal in 2018.
- Banyan's solution identified more than 20 leaks on the HP campus and prevented millions of gallons of water from being wasted.
- HP's smart water management technology that was implemented in Palo Alto that is expected to deliver significant savings. The company is going to institute this technology at other high-use campuses. The company is also installing smart meters in the campuses in Beijing, Singapore, Boise, and Corvallis.
- Innovations in product delivery is expected to reduce water usage by 89%.
- HP uses "smart building practices, sustainable landscaping, infrastructure upgrades, and greywater reuse". The company improved water efficiency at its Palo Alto, Boise, Rio Rancho and Corvallis sites and decreased domestic water use by 30%. Smart water management was deployed at Palo Alto that will deliver significant savings and will be implemented at other high-use sites.
- Introducing sustainable landscapes at the Corvallis campus is expected to save 12,500 cubic meters of water a year, reduce water usage from irrigation by 25%, and reduce landscaping costs by 30%. HP intends to implement sustainable landscaping at the Barcelona campus as well. Corvallis became the first USGBC Sustainable SITES certified campus in Oregon.
Water Rates And Water Bills
- The average water and sewer bill is said to have increased 3.6% in 50 cities analyzed by Bluefield in 2019, the eighth consecutive year of increases. Water bills have increased 31% between 2012 and 2019, and water rates have increased at a faster pace than most groceries and gas and faster than inflation.
- California is one example of communities affected by using large amounts of water, declining water availability, and rising water rates. The State Water Resources Control Board’s climate and conservation manager, Max Gomberg, reports that the price of water has increased at least at 6 times the state's rate of inflation. Between 2010 and 2017, rates skyrocketed in Los Angeles and San Francisco at 71% and over 120% respectively.
Climate Change And Water Availability
- HP's 2018 Sustainability Report details the company's 3-prong approach to create long-term change for the planet and its goals to reduce GHG emissions intensity, achieve zero deforestation due to its products, and increase the use of recycled materials. It also provides "high standards for utilizing renewable and recycled resources" such as water.
- HP's 2018 discusses climate change and how it relates to its carbon footprint, however, they are still gaining insights from the water processes to improve and "create positive and sustainable impact".
- The company reports that many of its suppliers operate in areas "where water stress is a growing threat"and identify suppliers in those areas and work to improve water reporting, enhance management practices, and added water stewardship criteria to the Sustainability Scorecard. 92% of suppliers have had set water management goals since the end of 2017.
- The biggest drivers of increasing water rates and steep decline in availability in California is reported by Max Grombert to be climate change that is making hydrology more variable by causing longer droughts and warmer hot spells. Districts that historically able to can no longer depend on rain and reliable groundwater reserves, and communities are paying higher rates for water that is short in supply or is contaminated and not safe to drink. With poor and affluent communities facing water shutoffs the state had to provide emergency funds to reduce water costs and provide bottled water.
- The CDP Water Disclosure Project which was aimed at global businesses is stated to be one of the sharpest observations on water and climate change. The Project found that climate change will be evident through changing patterns of availability, shrinking glaciers, and changing patterns of precipitation with more droughts and floods. The Project states that businesses need far greater levels of awareness and understanding.
- Mountain water runoff and glaciers provide more than 50% of the world's freshwater, and the increasing rise in temperatures and snow droughts is leading to reduced water availability. Increasing temperatures furthers the decline in water availability by increasing evaporation rates and water loss in plants and soil.
- Due to climate change, it is estimated that almost 50% of the world's population will live in areas facing water shortage or scarcity.