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NEW REPORT: California Water Efficiency – Leading the Way into the Future

September 17, 2018

The Southern California Water Coalition (SCWC), in collaboration with the California Data Collaborative (CaDC), released an innovative white paper, California Water Efficiency: Leading the Way into the Future in September 2018. The report highlights recommendations for transforming California’s urban landscapes by harnessing technology, data and partnerships to build a more efficient and sustainable California.

The report leverages data and technology to provide thoughtful recommendations on how California can meet new mandates on outdoor water use and conservation amidst the increasing impacts of climate change — providing a roadmap for how water agencies and other stakeholders can support and encourage responsible water management.

“Southern California has a long tradition of being on the front lines of vital conservation efforts, and we cannot let our foot off the gas pedal,” said Charles Wilson, Executive Director of the Southern California Water Coalition. “To continue our progress, we must support water managers as they strive for greater water efficiency. The recommendations for outdoor water use outlined in this report prove that using data and technology will lead us in the right direction.”

California’s historic drought called for immediate change, and our state leaders answered — mandating that water conservation become a “way of life” in California. In spring 2018, Governor Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 1668 (AB 1668) and Senate Bill 606 (SB 606), requiring standards and regulations be developed to set individual, long-term urban water use efficiency goals or “water budgets” that each retail water supplier must meet before the end of 2025.

SCWC’s Water Energy Efficiency Taskforce industry experts partnered with the CaDC, which amplifies a unique repository of data and skilled technological methods, for this research. Together, the team developed a set of recommendations for water agencies working toward these new water efficiency goals.

 Recommendations include:

  • Promoting customer education and incentives are critical to achieve the opportunity in urban outdoor usage.
  • Cooperative purchasing for aerial imagery and other technology is needed to leverage shared resources.
  • Quantifying carbon and energy embedded in outdoor water use is a path for unlocking new conservation funding.
  • Best in class tools and new technology are required to support water managers in achieving their goals.

“By combining the political, environmental and water minds that make up SCWC’s Water Energy Efficiency Task Force with the CaDC’s expansive data infrastructure, we found solutions for improving California’s water and energy use to promote sustainability,” said Patrick Atwater, Project Manager for the California Data Collaborative. “In light of our current climate reality, water agencies are facing a high level of uncertainty and the recommendations in this whitepaper aim to ease that uncertainty and arm water agencies with strategies for the future.”

SCWC’s Water Energy Efficiency Task Force was founded to explore the interconnected role of water and energy sustainability as the impacts of drought and climate change persist. The Task Force will continue to investigate the intersections between water, energy, and alongside the CaDC, the role data can play in finding new and innovative solutions.



Established in 1984, the Southern California Water Coalition is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, public education partnership dedicated to informing Southern Californians about our water needs and our state’s water resources. Spanning from San Diego to Kern County, SCWC’s members include representatives from business, government, agriculture, water agencies, labor and the general public. Visit us at

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