How does one company conserve millions of gallons of water?

2020 Sustainability Goals

Water covers more than 70 percent of our planet, according to the National Ocean Service. But of that massive supply, only 1.3 percent is accessible drinking water.

As a result, water conservation is one of the biggest challenges we all face in working toward a more sustainable world. While organizations should take any measures they can to help reduce the amount of water they use, they also must consider creative solutions. 

"Water  conservation has been an important part of UTC’s environmental goals for many years,” explains Rick Bennett, Vice President of Environment, Health & Safety at UTC, “and in 2016 UTC EH&S launched a new set of sustainability goals that includes measuring absolute water reduction worldwide and implementation of Water Management Best  Practices."

UTC Aerospace Systems, for example, set an aggressive goal of reducing its water consumption by 41 mil lion gallons in 2015. Getting to that number meant thinking about innovative ways to get the job done. At their facility in Chula Vista, California, UTAS removed 51,000 square feet of lawn, replacing it with a walkway of decomposed granite, water-smart plants and decorative stone ground cover. 

Chula Vista's strategy will save about 2 million gallons of water per year, and it even inspired the mayor of the city to suggest replacing the lawn at Chula Vista's city hall. With innovative thinking like the Chula Vista project, UTC Aerospace Systems has conserved over 130 million gallons of water since 2006, with plans to save another 34 million gallons this year alone.

In Singapore, more than 5,000 employees at 19 UTC sites tap into a variety of methods to conserve the amount of water they use. These practices have paid off. Over the past decade, the sites have reduced water use by 55 percent, the equivalent of about 32 Olympic-sized swimming pools. Representatives from Pratt & Whitney are also regular participants at World Water Day festivities, sharing their message and methods to others in the community.

The company isn't stopping there, either. Over the last 20 years, we tripled revenue at UTC while we reduced our water usage 57 percent on an absolute basis — and UTC's recently released 2020 Sustainability Goals outline plans to achieve a 25 percent reduction from our 2015 water conservation performance. After all, on an issue as important as building a sustainable world, we can't afford to tread water.

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