Physician Practice

Saving money and water in healthcare

Medical Environment Update, January 23, 2021

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With more droughts and heat waves expected in upcoming years, it’s time for hospitals and clinics to be more water-conscious

Climate change is making the world hotter and drier, with more intense heat waves and droughts expected in upcoming years. While this can lead to more intense wildfires and hurricanes, it also impacts our most basic necessity—water.

[sidebar]  How bad was the 2020 drought season? The National Integrated Drought Information System has created 15 maps measuring changes in rainfall, temperature, evaporation, and large fire incidents.

Roughly 73.6 million Americans were experiencing a drought during the week of October 7–13, according to the National Integrated Drought Information System, with droughts deemed “extreme” and “exceptional” in 22 states from the West Coast to New England. You can see maps of your area’s current drought status and forecasts at: www.drought.gov/drought/data-maps-tools/current-conditions.

In addition, as clean water becomes harder to find, it becomes more expensive. And healthcare facilities use a lot of water.

The EPA says healthcare facilities account for 7% of all commercial and institutional water use, making them the third largest water consumers of all buildings in the U.S. One study found that hospitals use about 570 gallons of water per bed per day, compared to the 150 gallons the average citizen uses per day.

This is an excerpt from a member only article. To read the article in its entirety, please login or subscribe to Medical Environment Update.

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