Agilent and the California Drought

California is currently facing one of its most extreme droughts on record.  First declared in December 2011, the drought is considered the worst in 1,200 years.  The entire state is currently operating under mandatory water restrictions in urban areas to reduce potable water usage by 25 percent.

Agilent has its corporate headquarters in Santa Clara, Calif.  The company has additional manufacturing sites in Folsom and Carpinteria.  While the state’s restrictions do not apply to business sectors using water for manufacturing, Agilent is still investing in a smarter water infrastructure and new best practices.

The Santa Clara site has reduced water usage in the first half of fiscal 2015 by 15 percent when compared with the first half of fiscal 2014.  The site is in the final stages of installing low-flow shower heads in the gym, and uses flow-restricting bathroom faucets.  The site continues to find areas where it can use mulch on vegetation to decrease evaporation.  (Unfortunately, Agilent’s proposal to drain the pond outside its main lobby was denied by the city of Santa Clara, due to fire protection requirements.)

The Folsom site in Northern California has implemented a cleaning system for its production baths used in gas chromatography column manufacturing, saving 44,000 gallons a year.  The site also uses recirculated water in its pond outside the lobby, and is installing a drip system for trees and a smart water controller that factors in weather conditions.

The Carpinteria site in Southern California will soon replace an inefficient reverse-osmosis drinking water system with one that uses filters instead.  This will result in drinking water procured with zero waste.  Like Folsom’s, Carpinteria’s outside fountain uses recirculated water.  Once the water evaporates to where operating the pump is no longer feasible, the fountain will be shut off.

Agilent is investing for the long term.  “Our companywide goal is 20 percent water conservation over 10 years, with fiscal 2014 as our baseline,” says Agilent’s Scott Nixon.  “The efforts across our California sites, to keep current with emergency regulations and implement conservation measures, have been tremendous.”

As a company focused on inspiring scientific discovery, Agilent recognizes the wide-ranging implications of climate change – affecting water resources, agriculture, biodiversity and public health.  In addition to its business practices, the company also works to minimize the environmental impact of its products and packaging.


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