Since the start of 2020, the Auckland region has received significantly less rainfall than normal. Auckland is not normally a region that suffers from water scarcity, but by mid-April, the total volume of water stored in the dams had dropped below 50 per cent for the first time in more than 25 years. Our changing climate will affect our economy, environment and way of life, and Auckland residents have certainly felt the impact of water restrictions on their daily life.
For our Auckland branch, this meant implementing some water-saving measures, given that we are considered a “commercial user” of water due to our vehicle wash bays. In response to the water crisis, the Auckland team stopped cleaning vehicle exteriors, instead opting to wash windows and mirrors only. This resulted in significant water savings for the branch, with virtually no customer push-back. Our Local Hosts explained the water-saving rationale to customers on arrival, and given the domestic customer-base post-COVID-19, we found we had almost unanimous support for this initiative.
Prior to the Sept 2020 fire, the Auckland team were also investigating the viability of rainwater collection tanks at the branch. Unfortunately, the fire has changed the proposed timeline on this initiative, but water scarcity will be a key consideration in the planned rebuild.
In the US, Store sustainability action plans included water-saving targets. Each store focused on monitoring water use, increasing awareness of water-saving actions including a program of regular checks to ensure leaks are found and fixed quickly. The team also reviewed core processes that use most water – these include vehicle washing, landscaping and facilities to identify ways to make activities more water-efficient.
To help increase awareness of the importance of saving water, we shared tips, ideas and information to help our crew and customers save water at work, at home and on the road. This also included promoting opportunities to get involved in volunteering activities to help look after waterways as part of our Travel with Heart responsible travel program. Team members from the El Monte RV branch in Dublin also took part in a local creek clean-up for an international coastal cleanup day.