Saveourwater.com hosts a number of resources for homeowners looking to reduce their water usage. In addition to news and history about the drought, the site has pages dedicated to efficient toilets, sprinkler systems, and landscaping—the areas that often provide the biggest opportunities for water savings for homeowners.
Can California further reduce urban water use? A post in The California Water Blog compares California’s current drought to a drought in Australia and provides useful takeaways for policymakers. The Australian example suggests that the most successful water-saving techniques were outdoor water use restrictions, dual flush toilets, and higher water prices.
Despite quite a few advances over the last few years on how Californians capture, use, and think about water, California still has a lot of problems to solve and more to learn in terms handling and planning for drought. A new report, “Managing Drought: Learning from Australia,” may help boost that knowledge. The report is a primer to show Californians what Australia did right and wrong during its Millennium Drought, which lasted from 1997 to 2012. “Managing Drought” was a collective effort between the Alliance for Water Efficiency in Chicago, the Institute for Sustainable Futures in Sydney, and the Pacific Institute in Oakland.
In September 2015, The Union of Concerned Scientists released a report related to implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA)—Measuring What Matters: Setting Measurable Objectives to Achieve Sustainable Groundwater Management in California. SGMA requires local groundwater sustainability agencies to develop groundwater sustainability plans by 2020, but does not define how to set measurable objectives. This report is designed to inform state regulators about how to measure sustainability so that we know when we are making progress and when we are off track.
The Senate Office of Research has released its second of two installments of a report on California’s drinking water. The first installment reported on what the state does to ensure its drinking water is safe. This second installment focuses on the challenges to providing safe and clean drinking water that is affordable to disadvantaged communities in California.
In “A behind-the-scenes battle to divert LA’s stormwater from going to waste,” the LA Times explains how engineers work to capture as much rainwater as possible to recharge our area aquifers. Money quote: “While the L.A. River’s water was already roaring to the sea at more than 7,200 cubic feet every second, the San Gabriel’s was meandering down the riverbed and into spreading grounds far upstream, percolating as nature intended.”
The US EPA has released a new video, Green Streets: The Road to Clean Water. Green streets are natural and engineered methods for controlling stormwater that would otherwise gather pollutants and rush them from hard streets into storm drains and out into local waterways. This short video highlights green streets as a technique for managing stormwater and providing other economic and community benefits.
Congresswoman Grace Napolitano hosted a Stormwater Roundtable on February 2016 to discuss stormwater and EPA-mandated MS4 permits in Los Angeles County. Topics include Stormwater 101, MS4/NPDES permit specifics, Integrated Planning and Financial Capability Frameworks, Collaborations (between water districts, Leagues of Cities, COGs, LA County, sanitation districts, Caltrans, US Army Corps of Engineers), Affordability and Cost to Meet Permits, and Legislative update from Rep. Napolitano’s office. You can download the presentations from the event website.
With the current drought, communities and residents across California are looking for ways to conserve water. The Institute for Local Government has a collection of water and wastewater best practices that local governments can implement to conserve water, save energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help secure water resources for the future.