Access to a clean and plentiful water supply continues to be a growing challenge for many of the communities in which we operate. At Davey, we are continuing our legacy of environmental stewardship through responsible water use. Further, we are increasingly collaborating with our valued stakeholders to deliver solutions for their water management needs. As an essential element for plant health care, our commitment to water stewardship is critical for the continued success of our business.
We began tracking our operational water use in 2014, discovering our facilities—including our two nurseries—make up only a small portion of our water footprint. Our largest water consumption happens at the job site, from the mixing of chemicals. As a provider of tree and landscape services, our chemical footprint includes fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides, fungicides and growth regulators.
Chemical Use (Liters/Kilograms)
Historically, Davey has led in the responsible selection and use of these chemicals, employing robust chemical safety protocols and following EPA guidance on chemical risk reduction methods. We developed our landscape Environmental Impact Quotient (EIQ) program to evaluate the overall impacts of chemicals on the environment.
In 2017, we expanded our chemical management processes to include water use, setting an audacious goal to reduce our water consumption per labor hour by 35 percent by 2023 from a 2017 baseline. To accomplish this goal, we must rethink our entire chemical inventory and collaborate with chemical suppliers to identify and develop chemicals that require less or no water. Using our chemical inventory as a proxy, we calculate our 2017 field water use as 268,982 cubic meters, an increase of 2 percent from last year.
Water Use (CUBIC METERS)
Our customers also play a key role in achieving our water goal. Around the United States and Canada, our residential and commercial business units advise clients on how to reduce their water usage through proper landscape maintenance techniques and drought-tolerant landscaping. Davey Resource Group implements water-sensitive restoration plans for wetland and riparian areas, as well as urban forestry projects that improve storm water and runoff management.
In 2017, we began collaborating with external experts to innovate potential water management services, including water audit, irrigation and water reduction services, for our clients. We plan to continue development of these services in 2018.