Droughtbusters: The 7.7 million gallons of water that didn’t go down the drain

“Water is ‘the big elephant in the room,’” said Joe Kava of Google in a recent Financial Times article. This is evidenced in many parts of the U.S. and the world, which are in the midst of a severe drought. On the west coast, California is in its third consecutive year of drought, having only received 20% of its average rainfall. This is affecting households, corporations, and entire industries.

Mitigating the problem through simple actions

This past February, one of our customers asked WeSpire to help them and their employees reduce their water use. We responded by creating the Droughtbusters corporate water stewardship project. Like all our projects, Droughtbusters contains a list of simple actions coupled with information that both raises awareness and provides actionable steps for employees to take. By breaking each project down into specific actions, what may seem like an abstract goal – in this case, conserve water – turns into a relatively easy, and fun, roadmap for long-term impactful behavior change.

Simple actions add up quickly

What started out as a customized project for one company, turned into a successful corporate water stewardship campaign in over ten organizations. Since Droughtbusters launched this past March, over 83,000 water-saving actions were recorded via the project. All of those actions add up to a savings of 7.7 million gallons of water. For context, that is equal to filling 220,000 bathtubs. Financially, all of the recorded Droughtbuster actions are equal to over $91,000 in savings (including emissions and energy impacts in addition to water). That’s a serious chunk of change alongside a big pool of water (the reservoir).

So of the 30 Droughtbuster actions, which ones are the most popular? Here’s a list of the 10 most frequently completed, along with the number of times it has been completed:

Action Times Completed
Turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth   9,741
Wash a full load of laundry   8,659
Wait to run the dishwasher until it’s full   7,623
Take a shower that is 5 minutes or less   7,142
Wear clothes and use towels more than once before washing   6,058
Load the dishwasher without rinsing dishes thoroughly   5,789
Turn off the water while washing hands   5,445
Turn off the faucet while shaving   5,124
Use a broom instead of a hose to clean your driveway   3,737
Water plants in the morning (or coolest part of the day)   3,533


Each of these actions is a relatively minor shift in behavior. What’s interesting, though, is that each of the top 10 actions can be completed regularly, some, even a few times a day.

The drought is not something we can easily remedy, however as the Droughtbusters corporate water stewardship project proves, minor changes in behavior add up to big—positive—outcomes.

To learn more about how we calculate our water, waste, energy, fuel and emissions impacts, read up on our methodology.

sustainability and corporate water stewardshipRead more about WeSpire’s Sustainability engagement library that inspires employees to take action and impact social and environmental outcomes.