February 6, 2014

Kaiser Permanente no stranger to water conservation

Water conservation chart, KP Reporter, April 1, 1977.

Contributed by Lincoln Cushing, Archivist and Historian

'Please save melted ice water for Sara,' KP Reporter, April 1, 1977.

On January 17, 2014, California Gov. Jerry Brown publicly declared what everyone already knew — that California was entering a serious drought, potentially the worst in 163 years of recorded history.

But 1976 and 1977 were also very dry years.  During this two-year period, statewide precipitation was ranked among the five lowest ever recorded.

Jerry Brown was governor then, too, and everyone was asked to step up and reduce water use. Kaiser Permanente staff tackled the task with zeal and ingenuity.

One example was the San Rafael Medical Center in bone-dry Marin County. Sara Harney, an RN in San Rafael's Emergency Room, jumped in and captured the condensation from their ice machine.

“It would be just wasted otherwise. This is the only way I feel justified watering my flowers.”

This, and other similar efforts big and small by employees at the medical center, was charted to show progress and build support.

Overall, water consumption was cut by over half.

We did our part before, and we will do it again.