DALTON, Ga. — As Georgia’s two-year drought drags on, Dalton’s major carpet companies are touting — and sharing with one another — the water-saving measures that some industry leaders say predate the water crisis.
“We’ve been doing things for a long time to reduce water consumption,” Larry Cook, director of marketing for Beaulieu, said Tuesday at a Water Conservation for the Carpet Industry seminar held by the Carpet and Rug Institute.
Shaw Industries reduced water use by 45 percent since 1999, on a gallons per pound of carpet basis.
Source: Rick Ramirez, vice president of sustainability and environmental affairs
In the past, competitive carpet companies might have kept cost-saving conservation strategies to themselves.
“Generally, we’re at each other’s throats,” Mr. Cook said. “We’re anti-sharing of ideas.”
The drought has created a sense of social responsibility among industry leaders to pool their knowledge about water-saving techniques, he said.
One of the speakers Tuesday was Randy Waskul, a Whitfield County commissioner who is also vice president of sustainable development for Mohawk Industries.
“Our industry is heavily reliant on water,” Mr. Waskul acknowledged Tuesday.
In May 2007, his company began tracking every drop of water it used. Mr. Waskul saved 40,000 of gallons of water a month just by retrofitting the plumbing on fixtures the staff members used, he said. And Mohawk also began recycling water.
“It became a game for some of our folks,” he said, “how many times they can reuse water.”
Dalton Utilities never mandated water restrictions on carpet companies, said the utility’s spokeswoman, Lori McDaniel, in part because of the industry’s voluntary efforts to conserve water.
“The effects of a slowing economy” also played a role in ensuring that carpet companies cut back on water use, she said in an e-mail message.
Still, landscaper Roderick Bowman wishes water-use cutbacks were mandated indoors as strictly as they are outdoors.
“Landscapers always get beat on,” he said, with a laugh. “I do think it’s a little unfair.”