Freshwater is a critical resource that is under increasing demand. Disney recognizes the importance of water as a critical resource for our operations and the communities in which we operate. Water must be managed in a sustainable fashion for future generations. Dependable water supplies are required for supplying human needs, ensuring healthy ecosystems, and maintaining business security. Already in some parts of the world, sources of freshwater are strained and the increasing gap between supply and demand will further stress freshwater sources.

The purpose of our water goal is to ensure the sustainable use of water by Disney in all of the communities in which we conduct business. In 2009, we created an internal Water Working Group to develop a medium-term target that will bring us a step closer to reaching our goal of minimizing water use. Availability and business use of water varies across all regions and geographic locations. In order to develop a meaningful target, the working group engaged cast members, Imagineers, crew members and employees throughout the Company to identify the sources of water for each business and location, the relative availability of potable water, and current water conservation practices. 

We decided that the Company's best approach to water conservation must be locally-relevant and locally-managed. To address this, we established a new medium-term target:

  • By the end of 2012, Water Conservation Plans (WCPs) will be adopted in each of our locations.

The WCPs will provide a review of potable water use and availability, as well as conservation measures already in place and strategies for additional conservation measures.

We are already implementing freshwater saving measures in some of our sites.

  • Water conservation efforts in place since 1990 have helped the Walt Disney World Resort maintain its beautiful landscape while minimizing impacts to local water supplies. Reclaimed water — water that is treated, reprocessed and reused — is used to irrigate golf courses as well as for washing buses and cleaning streets at theme parks and resorts. More than 6 million gallons of reclaimed water are used each day. Additional reclaimed water is used to recharge the aquifer through a system of rapid infiltration basins. Water conservation efforts have enabled aquifer net withdrawals to remain at levels similar to those of more than 20 years ago, even though the resort has grown by two parks, two water parks and 20 resort hotels since then.

  • Disney's Corporate Operations and Real Estate (CORE) group manages owned and leased facilities. One of CORE's business objectives is to ensure a clean, safe and efficient work environment. In 2009, CORE initiated a restroom water effort which includes replacing older toilets with new low flow technology units at the Studio Lot in Burbank, California. This effort resulted in an estimated annual savings of 5.6 million gallons of water. 

  • A water use reduction program was initiated at the ABC Television Studios in New York as early as 2001. At this site, we implemented a phased approach to systematically upgrade all restrooms throughout the complex. As part of this program, automatic low flow urinals and toilets have been installed as well as automatic faucets with water reducing aerators.

  • Disney Cruise Line is active in applying technology to conserve water. The laundry facility aboard the Disney Magic consumes about one-third of the total water used on the ship. To conserve water, new efficient washers were installed in 2010. The new technology has improved water efficiency in the laundry by more than 20%. The Disney Magic also recycles water collected from the onboard air conditioning system to supply fresh water to the ship's laundry facilities and for cleaning the ship's outer decks. This amounts to a minimum of 50 tons of water conserved onboard each ship per day.

For an additional example of our commitment to water reuse, visit the feature story on our newest attraction at Disney's California Adventure – World of Color.

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