SAN FRANCISCO (May 26, 2009) — In the midst of a third consecutive dry year, California’s water supply continues to shrink as the state’s population grows, but according to a new report by the Natural Resources Defense Council, the state’s commercial, industrial and institutional (CII) sector has the tools to save more than enough water to meet the annual needs of Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego combined. Some leading California businesses and institutions are already catching on — saving water and money at the same time.“After three consecutive dry years and global warming threatening to intensify California’s droughts, we need smart-water solutions that that will stop waste and help businesses use only what they need,” said Ronnie Cohen, Director of Water Efficiency Policy for the Natural Resources Defense Council. “Luckily, 21st-century technologies exist to stretch our water supply and save money. And some trailblazing California businesses and water agencies are already showing us how it’s done.” In February of 2008, Governor Schwarzenegger called for a 20 percent reduction in per capita water use by 2020, and legislation to help reach that target is currently pending in the State Assembly (AB 49). California’s CII sector — which includes office buildings, hotels, oil refineries, golf courses, schools and universities, restaurants and manufacturers — is responsible for one-third of urban water use, making progress in this sector essential to reaching this reduction goal. The CII sector uses the equivalent of more than a million Olympic-sized swimming pools of water annually. NRDC estimates California businesses could save about 25-50 percent of that water with efficiency measures, or as much as 700,000 -1.3 million acre-feet — the equivalent to 350,000-650,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools.