Sanford-Burnham recognized as a trailblazer in water conservation
If you live in California—especially Southern California—you know that water is scarce. So scarce that the governor is ordering a statewide, across-the-board 25 percent cut in water use. Although the targets for water reduction in commercial, institutional, and industrial settings haven’t been established, the life-science research industry is finding ways to face the water shortage. Perhaps they can take some pointers from Sanford-Burnham—recently recognized as a leader in conservation efforts. In an article published in the San Diego Business Journal, John Wammes, president and CEO of Water Works, Inc., a water-purification company in San Diego, was quoted as saying, “Sanford-Burnham has done a tremendous job of saving water, and they have a real passion for sustainability. For San Diego, it would be shame if we couldn’t support the nonprofits such as Scripps Research Institute, Salk (Institute for Biological Studies), or Sanford-Burnham.”
Clean water is essential to medical research. Disruptions in the availability of clean water could hinder laboratory work, which could slow the discovery of new drugs. Using reclaimed (recycled) water in areas that are not critical to research, such as landscaping and cooling systems, saves clean water for the activities that really need it.
“Water conservation is an important goal for Sanford-Burnham,” said John M. Reed, maintenance manager at the Institute. “We have been working to reduce our water consumption for the past 10 years, using recycled water for irrigation and cooling, repurposed water from filtration machines, and replacing tropical plants with drought-resistant landscaping.”
For years, the biotech industry has realized the value of water conservation, and has been working with the city council on programs to address mandatory water restrictions. As California moves into the third year of the state’s worst drought, more medical research organizations will need to find solutions to the shortage, perhaps learning from Sanford-Burnham’s experience.