Syngenta is highlighting the importance of water conservation as winter approaches because droughts are not limited to the summer months. In fact, much of the Southern and Western United States is currently experiencing abnormally dry to severe drought conditions, according to the National Drought Mitigation Center. With food production so closely tied to the world’s water supply, Syngenta is raising awareness among its employees on how they can effectively and simply conserve water at home, hosting events at its three largest sites this year.
“Agriculture uses about 70 percent of the world’s fresh water supply,” said Rahshek Ellis, a communications specialist at Syngenta. “But each of us can help contribute to sustainability by using water wisely.”
At one event, Syngenta employees in Research Triangle Park, N.C., learned how to use rain barrels to collect water for their lawns and gardens and how to qualify for rebates when purchasing products like water-efficient toilets and clothes washers. The program featured the City of Durham’s Department of Water Management and Ryan Berglund of Rain Barrels International.
Berglund founded the company with his parents when he was just 12 years old, after he and his father built a rain barrel as a surprise birthday gift for his mother. Later, Berglund convinced a local garden center that his rain barrel had a better design than the center’s existing products because of a special lid that prevents mosquitoes from getting in the water and multiplying.
The rain barrels are now sold across the country, helped in part by a fund-raiser program where organizations can earn a portion of rain barrel sales for their charities. Syngenta, for example, has raised money for the FFA program at Millbrook High School in Raleigh, N.C., where Berglund graduated in 2013.
At another event in Greensboro, N.C., Syngenta vegetable seed team members shared tips with employees for producing homegrown vegetables. In Minnetonka, Minn., Syngenta hosted the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District and local FFA students to explain how to redirect downspouts so that water flowing off rooftops can be used for lawns or gardens, rather than flowing onto driveways or sidewalks and down storm drains.
Syngenta understands that the process of conserving and recycling water starts at home. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average family of four uses about 400 gallons of water per day, with about 30 percent of this devoted to outdoor uses.
“By raising awareness about water conservation, Syngenta is providing employees with the knowledge they need to use water more intelligently,” said Ellis.