07 Apr The Quest to Quench California’s Thirst
For the first time in California’s history, Governor Jerry Brown has issued mandatory statewide water use reductions. It’s been more than four years since California was considered “drought-free.” Year after year, our state’s water levels sink lower and lower. Dams, once pictures of great water sustainability, now look more like barren canyons. Even our mountains have lost their snowy luster.
Governor Brown’s order aims to combat our state’s growing water shortage by reducing water usage by 25 percent. The State Water Resources Control Board has been recruited to help realize this goal. The order includes replacing 50 million square feet of green lawns with more drought tolerant landscaping, rebate programs for replacing old appliances with more water efficient models, and restricting new building developments to use drip systems for potable water irrigation. Besides these directives, Governor Brown is also committed to investing in new technologies that will preserve California’s water future and promote water efficiency.
We at Katz & Associates have spent nearly 30 years specializing in water supply and management projects, with expertise in water projects that integrate emerging technologies and practices. We work with agencies to inform the public on important topics related to water conservation and invite them to help provide solutions. Some of our most recent projects in this arena include:
- Pure Water San Diego Program: We work with the City of San Diego to advance Pure Water San Diego, a nationally recognized and unanimously approved program which will use water purification technology to produce one third of the region’s local supply by 2035. We developed a comprehensive communication plan that informs community members and businesses, including various multicultural communities, about the need for local water sources and the science of water purification technology.
- Recycled Water Communication Program: We work with the Santa Clara Valley Water District to ensure a safe, secure, and sustainable water supply through expanding recycled water use produced at the Silicon Valley Advanced Water Purification Center throughout the county. We developed and implemented a research-based communication program to inform the public about the district’s recycled water expansion efforts as well as the need for and benefits of recycled water.
- Recycled Water Retrofit Program: We developed a comprehensive strategic communication plan supporting the City of Oxnard’s Advanced Water Purification Facility. The Facility supplements the region’s water supply with recycled water, initially used for irrigation and industrial purposes. Our team assists the City’s Communication and Public Information staff and recycled water retrofit project team to implement community outreach activities to raise awareness of the recycled water component of their Groundwater Recovery Enhancement and Treatment (GREAT) Program.
- Water System Improvement Program: We support the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission by providing strategic public outreach services for this $4.6 billion program, which will seismically upgrade aging infrastructure thus ensuring a reliable, high-quality source of water for more than 2.6 million people. We employ a variety of community outreach techniques to best support each infrastructure improvement project (83 projects in total).
- Capital Investment Programs: We support the City of Fresno’s Recharge Fresno program aimed at constructing essential water infrastructure to capture and use available surface water in normal years, and reduce the City’s near total dependence on groundwater supplies. Obtaining community support for a five-year rate increase to fund critical improvements has been an integral part of strategic communication efforts.
As conditions in the water industry change, we will continue to support difference makers and contribute best practices and cutting edge solutions to provide a safe, reliable water supply.