The United States has just suffered through one of the hottest summers and worst droughts in decades. What's more, many climatologists see this as a long-term trend that may become more common in years to come. Most also believe this trend will have a definite impact on the nation's water supplies.
To see how facility managers view this trend, what steps they may or may not be taking to reduce water consumption, and how this past summer's heat and drought may have impacted their facilities, Waterless Co. Inc. invited facility managers to take an online "water concerns" survey. Among the key findings were the following*:

• Asked if their facilities have implemented new water-saving strategies as a result of this past summer's heat and drought, 62 percent said no; 24 percent indicated they had taken some sort of action.

• Forty-three percent indicated their local water departments have encouraged them to conserve water this past summer.

• Asked how they currently conserve water, about 26 percent said they have installed low-flow toilets and urinals; 44 percent indicated they have cut back on the amount of water used for landscape irrigation; about 10 percent indicated they have installed no-water urinal systems.

"The last question asked by what percentage their water bills have changed in the past five years," says Klaus Reichardt, CEO and Founder of Waterless Co. "Nearly half said their charges have not changed, but the other half indicated their rates have gone up by 10 percent or more. Most likely everyone will see their water bills going up in the next few years."

* The survey respondents were invited to make comments on the various questions in the survey. Here are some of those comments:
What prevents your facility from conserving more water?
• "We are working on making changes on a continual basis as we upgrade the facility as well."
• "Short staff and too many priorities"
• "We are doing some things, but I am sure there are lots more we can do."
• "What is preventing us is the time to do the research along with the cost of upgrades."
In what ways do you currently conserve water?
• "No plants"
• "We only use water as needed."
• "Educational programs to change occupant behavior so they use less water. We have also introduced automated faucets."
• "We have changed cleaning processes and products to reduce water use."
• "Computerized irrigation system that monitors existing soil and water conditions."