Here at Qualcomm, we love interesting holidays—especially when they celebrate something as important as our health, environment and economy. That’s why this August we’re honoring National Water Quality Month.
As water sources around the world become increasingly stressed, we’re acutely aware of the need to treat water as the precious resource it is. We’re conserving water, particularly in California, the home of our headquarters and a state challenged by water scarcity.
Our approach to water conservation and preservation starts right here at home. Through the Qualcomm Foundation, we contribute to San Diego Coastkeeper, a local organization that aims to protect and restore fishable, swimmable and drinkable waters in San Diego County. Some of this funding supports Project SWELL (Stewardship: Water Education for Lifelong Leadership), a district-based science curriculum that teaches children about the importance of the region's waterways and is available to more than 60,000 students throughout San Diego County. The impact of human-water interaction is explored through a well-balanced, comprehensive and hands-on water quality and pollution prevention course of study.
San Diego Coastkeeper has also hosted QCares volunteer events for several years. In 2013, three Qualcomm groups totaling more than 350 individuals (myself included!) participated in beach cleanups at Mission Beach/Bay and La Jolla Shores. We collected a total of 362 pounds of trash, as well as valuable data that Coastkeeper will use to guide its strategic planning. The La Jolla event helped protect a local Area of Special Biological Significance—an ocean region so biologically unique that it is mandated to be 100 percent protected from polluted runoff.
In our San Diego facilities, we make our greatest gains in water conservation by utilizing reclaimed water instead of potable water for irrigation and air conditioning. As we construct new buildings and renovate existing facilities, we intend to use as much reclaimed water as local infrastructure allows. Additionally, at our San Diego facilities where we do not have access to reclaimed water for our cooling towers, we avoid consuming another 11.5 millions gallons of potable water annually by carefully managing the treatment of the water, enabling us to use it longer before having to flush the system and refill it.
As we rely on suppliers to manufacture our chipsets and other products, we are concerned with the adverse impacts that the manufacturing process may have on the environment. Therefore, we want our suppliers to be as efficient with their water use as possible. Our semiconductor business unit currently requires our manufacturing suppliers to conserve, recycle and reuse water through its Supplier Code of Conduct.
In 2012, we completed a water scarcity assessment of our key electronics suppliers and assessed potential long-term water challenges for our business. We employed the World Business Council for Sustainable Development Global Water Tool in our evaluation and also consulted the Global Environmental Management Initiative Local Water Tool.
As Derek Zoolander famously said, “Moisture is the essence of wetness. Wetness is the essence of beauty.” While he’s not exactly the first person to come to mind as an authority on water quality issues, we’re inclined to agree that water is a critical component of a beautiful and healthy earth and a sustainable San Diego, which is why we’ll be raising our reusable (water) bottles to water quality this month.
If you’d like to join us, we’d encourage you to check out this great list from San Diego Coastkeeper of 20 easy ways to conserve water. Clean Water Action California shares 10 ways you can protect our water here, and the U.S. EPA provides a list of ways you can get involved in protecting our drinking water, wetlands, and aquatic ecosystems. Cheers!