Reducing Water Use
Our total water use was flat in 2015, compared with 2014 despite an increase in our manufacturing operations.
Water use reduction is an important focus area for our sustainability program, particularly as the vast majority of our operations are located in California, which has been experiencing unprecedented drought conditions.
Our Californian operations used 4 million gallons less water in 2015 than they did over the previous year, thanks to a concerted effort to respond to the drought and implement water saving measures wherever possible.
In 2015, manufacturing operations at our South San Francisco (SSF), Vacaville and Oceanside facilities accounted for 75% of our total water use. Our manufacturing processes are commissioned and qualified to ensure that our site remains compliant with current good manufacturing practices (cGMP) and regulatory agency expectations. As such, it can be challenging to implement short term process changes to reduce water consumption. However, our manufacturing sites are working to find ways to use water efficiently within the parameters of our GMP approvals.
Our Vacaville site brought its second production plant back online in 2015, and through a novel CIP Optimization Project and significant landscaping improvements realized a small (4%) increase in water usage over 2014 despite a doubling in production output. Water savings projects for two industrial water reclaim projects worth about 15 million gallons of savings have been endorsed and are moving into project initiation in 2016. Lastly, a large-scale RO Reject Reclaim concept is being developed for an estimated 30 million gallons of savings.
All three of our sites are piloting solutions to reuse and recycle water internally, for example as make up water in cooling towers, and we expect the expansion of such solutions to drive significant water savings over the next several years. We will be using greywater from showers and sinks for irrigation and toilets in our new SSF Employee Center which will be complete by the end of 2016. And we are installing purple pipes throughout our SSF campus to enable reclaimed water to be transported for internal reuse in the future.
During 2015, we achieved significant reductions in our use of water for irrigation across our Californian operations using 24 million gallons less than in 2014. That’s a 29% overall reduction which resulted from a variety of measures including letting our lawns go ‘gold’, prioritizing native, drought tolerant planting for newly landscaped areas and replacing some existing turfed areas with such planting.
While we are pleased with the reductions we have achieved, we are committed to doing much more to reduce our potable water use. Having achieved some quick wins over the last 12 months, we are now implementing projects that will deliver water savings at scale over the long term, making us more resilient to a future that we expect to feature longer and more severe periods of drought.