The California Drought is Everyone’s Business – Here’s How We’re Addressing it Together
By Mariana Hodges | June 29, 2016
This post from Mariana Hodges is part of our Partner Perspectives blog series. In this series, we’ll feature diverse voices answering question “How can for-benefit business collaborate with NGOs and nonprofits, government and traditional companies to create change?” What are your thoughts on the topic? Share them with [email protected] and you could be our next guest blogger!
Water might be a simple inorganic compound, but all living organisms on Earth depend on it. Around the world, water has been withdrawn from aquifers faster than nature can replace it. And the truth is that if we continue our unsustainable practices, we are heading towards a global water crisis.
California has definitely seen the worst of the recent drought and, contrary to popular belief, it continues to hurt not only our farmers but also families that have restricted access to running water. We have fallen prey to this climate condition and it’s up to us to take action to move away from a state of emergency towards a sustainable future.
Saving water is ingrained in our mission at Falcon and is the basis of our product portfolio. We are proud to be a sustainable company and to invent water saving technologies that help our customers save water and associated water costs. Still, we recognize that we can’t achieve a sustainable future alone so we make a point of working with other stakeholders to realize change.
As a B Corp, we combine innovation with collaboration because we believe that powerful changes can create sustainable markets and societies (Click to Tweet!). We believe that relationships can be leveraged towards doing good and that fostering partnerships within our local community will help us rise, much like a phoenix, from the ashes of this devastating time of drought. Read on to learn how we join forces to use business as a power for good.
1. Nonprofit partnerships
Teaming up with people who are devoted to creating change is a huge inspiration for us, and we have found a California-based nonprofit that does just that. DigDeep fights for humans’ universal right to water. In fact, they are the first nonprofit focusing on educating the people about and ending water scarcity in America.
We have supported DigDeep in creating water awareness in the Los Angeles area with fun events such as the Empty Pool Party and by supporting campaigns like the heart breaking story of Baby Lisa, an infant born in Phoenix with an intestinal disease who can’t live at home because her home doesn’t have clean water. DigDeep is committed to instituting change for Baby Lisa and others enduring water poverty and we could not have found a better partner dedicated to ending water scarcity in America.
How do we find our non-profit partners?
Social media helps us meet and connect with most of the amazing people we work with. By using a passionate online voice and shouting the B Corp anthem from metaphorical mountain tops, we are able to connect with organizations that share our beliefs. Together we pour our time and efforts into creating water awareness campaigns and taking charge of the current climate circumstances that we see ourselves in.
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2. Legislative push
Once the drought escalated, California Governor Jerry Brown issued an ordinance for water conservation in California. “People should realize we are in a new era,” Mr. Brown said in his initial statement back in 2015. We couldn’t agree more, as this drought is likely one of many to come. It not only signifies our current water shortage, it foreshadows an era of dryness driven by climate change.
This past year, California has been able to reduce its water usage by roughly 23.9% compared to 2013. While this is a great accomplishment it remains 1.1% shy of the Governor’s original 25% target. With the state entering its 5th year of drought, reductions in water suppliers’ conservation standards seem to be moving away from the pressure and urgency of an extreme climate condition, which is concerning as this drought is not going away anytime soon. Even though water suppliers lobbying for reduced mandated reductions are being heard and appeased, we have to recognize the fact that extreme aridness is California’s new reality.
Falcon is focused on creating government partnerships to draw attention to solutions and ways to build a long term sustainable water infrastructure. We are constantly working to recognize and act on opportunities to make conservation a Californian way of life. We ultimately strive to create a system in which state officials respond to the ongoing drought by prioritizing policies that support — and building – long-term resilience.
In addition to State initiatives, Falcon supports local municipalities, especially those that do not have conservation rebates in place. We support them in building out rebates, ultimately hoping to establish programs on par with the Los Angeles Department of Power and Water’s commercial rebate program. This exemplary program pays businesses to retrofit their facilities with water conserving fixtures and devices. Our urinal technologies receive an astounding $500 per unit, making the installation and product practically free to businesses that choose to upgrade their facilities. This program and ones like it increase awareness of and interest in the water-saving technologies we offer and makes them a viable option for businesses that might not otherwise be able to afford them.
3. Making green technology attainable through rebate processing
Since we started 15 years ago, we have put hundreds of thousands of urinals in operation and led the way for restroom sustainability. Through our journey, our products have saved an estimated 20 billion gallons or more of water. While cause for celebration, this is just the beginning as we work to develop new technologies that further reduce our footprint and save water. As a B Corp, we strive to not only provide the best technology in the market but also to use our products to make meaningful connections.
California officials have responded to the drought by offering rebates to residents and commercial building owners to jumpstart the movement towards water efficient technologies such as waterless urinals and low-flow toilets. We love these initiatives and know well how complicated they can be. With water audits and slow moving bureaucratic processes, it can get a bit tricky to navigate through the system. In order to get everyone on board with water conservation and drive engagement in these local programs, we prove free rebate processing for all customers looking to upgrade their commercial restrooms to water efficient fixtures.
To make a more substantial transformation, Californians need to change how they relate to water and these rebates help involve more people in building a sustainable infrastructure!
4. Educational engagement
Education is a crucial component in making conservation a California way of life. Doom and gloom is not our approach – we don’t believe in scare tactics and the media does a great job of that anyway. Instead, we educate people to motivate change, sharing both the bad news (drought-like conditions are the new norm) and the good news (there are countless ways we can adapt and grow to meet and surpass our conservation targets).
In order to get this message out we invest a lot of our time partnering with others to educate Californians of all ages. We tour schools, create outreach initiatives like the 4 Liter Challenge with DigDeep, and take our message to large-scale forums and lectures such as LA Social Media Week. It is our business to make conservation everyone’s business and to educate others so we can move forward together.
This is the story of how we unite to overcome water poverty. Our assets are people dedicated to innovative thinking that can stimulate change through grassroots movements and mass action. Our diverse set of partners further our mission and bolster our business’s ability to do good.
Thanks for this information on work being done to alleviate the CA drought situation.
We at Savenia came up with the world’s first water ratings for water using appliances. Not many people know that you often pay much more in lifetime costs for water than you do for electricity in washing machines. And there are big differences between unit water use that is not obvious when you buy.
We proposed the system for California a while back and sent a note to Gov. Brown – here is the letter.
Thank you so much for reading and sharing! Savenia is doing such amazing things in helping people understand the longterm value of more sustainable technologies. I hope Gov. Brown took you up on your offer 🙂