Silicon Valley is the global center for innovation and high tech. Powering the world’s technology hub starts with the most fundamental resource of all – water. Since 1929, the Santa Clara Valley Water District, now known as Valley Water, has been providing the valley with safe, clean water for a healthy life, environment and economy. In the 21st century, Valley Water is empowering entrepreneurs and tech companies in taking the lead to ensure an environmentally sustainable and thriving economy.
One recent outstanding model of how impactful this collaboration can be is Integra Technologies, a semiconductor production company based in Milpitas. Integra wanted to reduce water and energy use. The company’s manufacturing processes consumed approximately 30,000 gallons of potable water daily which made its way to the sewer every day. With the support and resources of Valley Water’s Water Efficient Technology (WET) Rebate Program, the company designed a water reuse system able to capture, filter and recycle 97 percent of manufacturing wastewater. Integra is now saving more than 10 million gallons of water annually. In addition, the facility upgrades also resulted in an energy savings of 15 percent.
Valley Water is proud and delighted to engage, educate and empower businesses in being responsible stewards of our natural resources. The commercial sector plays an important role in our community. We strive to foster an attitude of conservation as second nature in Santa Clara County. The historic statewide drought of 2014 painfully taught us how to value this precious resource, and since 2015 our community has consistently cut water use by 19 percent or more each year, compared to water usage levels in 2013. Businesses and facilities are heavy hitters in this shared effort.
Integra was recently awarded the 2019 Bay Area Water Conservation and Reuse Award (formerly Silicon Valley Water Awards) in the business category. For two years in a row now the business category winners of these local conservation awards have been WET rebate recipients. Last year’s winner was Sierra Circuits, a circuit board manufacturer in Sunnyvale. Sierra Circuits was able to recycle up to 70 percent of water and cut back on overall water used during the various processes to produce printed circuit boards. Made possible with the help of our WET rebate, the company upgraded production operations with an innovative and advanced water treatment system for onsite reuse to reduce water consumption and recycle wastewater; as a result, the company saves about 2.85 million gallons annually. Together, both award-winning projects have saved nearly enough water used by 39 families of five in a year!
Our WET Rebate Program offers commercial, industrial and institutional customers the opportunity to upgrade facilities and equipment to reduce water usage. The program has been around since 1995 and has awarded nearly $2 million in rebates to businesses, amounting to 500 million gallons in annual water savings. This unique program allows businesses the flexibility to design a project customized to their needs and capacities that saves at least 74,800 gallons a year. All projects require installation of a submeter to ensure accurately measured water savings and the rebate amount is determined by the quantity of water saved, for a maximum rebate of $50,000. Projects must meet Valley Water requirements and be preapproved. Throughout the process, Valley Water works closely with the business to ensure compliance, efficient results and offer case studies for inspiration.
Our relationships with local companies are invaluable, and as our WET program has proven, a bottom line win for both parties. Water efficient technologies are a win for the environment, preserving our drinking water. Modernized and sustainable operations are a win for companies’ bottom line, saving money on utilities and allowing them to become potentially eligible for energy rebates or tax credits. Our partners can vouch that WET helps improve the return on investment for adopting new technologies. Not only can businesses be early-adopters of neat water-saving technologies, but they can establish industry leadership in water conservation. Over the years we’ve seen some impressive and innovative projects, including an ice skating center melt their rink ice using waste heat from their refrigeration system, rather than the traditional use of tap water – cool, right? Would you expect anything less in Silicon Valley?
Check out a brief video below on Integra’s award-winning system: