Water Blog: Water, Energy and Sustainability
July 13, 2016

California Air Resources Board Chair Mary Nichols recently addressed the crowd at Southern California Water Committee’s Water Energy Workshop with a clear message: we need to act now.

California is at a pivotal point in history as we develop solutions to make our state’s resources more reliable and secure. Often viewed as separate issues, water and energy sustainability are interconnected and paramount to California’s future as impacts of drought and climate change persist. With water and energy challenges tied to one another—solutions should be as well.

To help advance smart solutions, the Southern California Water Committee has recently launched a new Water Energy Efficiency Task Force, establishing a forum for businesses, water agencies, local governments and leaders to be active in the conversation. The Task Force will bring together various stakeholders in water, energy, manufacturing, agriculture and industries to identify challenges, opportunities and solutions, serve as a regional voice on water and energy efficiency issues, provide public education and outreach on the nexus between water and energy and offer tools to help members with their own sustainability efforts.

Public agencies, businesses and utilities are already challenged with water and energy use mandates and new regulations, but we know there are many innovative efforts already underway to advance sustainability. These innovations were highlighted as SCWC kicked off its new task at the Water Energy Workshop in Anaheim with a panel of distinguished speakers to discuss their projects and the closely connected issues of water and energy sustainability. Keynote speaker Mary Nichols also weighed in on the relationship between water and energy, acknowledging the myriad of roadblocks and calling for stakeholder involvement to move forward and affect change. There’s no silver bullet solution but, Ms. Nichols called for two simple first steps:

1.        “We need to work together more effectively”: This will require effort from both the public and private sector but we need to create more institutional arrangements or forums that will help foster discussion in hopes of solving some of these problems.

2.       “We can get behind efficiency easily”: There are very obvious solutions in this regard, whether it be energy efficient appliances, cars, homes or businesses, we can make the conscious decision to be more energy efficient.

Ms. Nichols noted that continuing to have these open dialogues where industry specialists can meet and share ideas is crucial to solving complex problems. To learn more about participating in SCWC’s Water Energy Efficiency Task force please visit www.socalwater.org or call Chloe Stearns at (818) 760-2121.

SCWC thanks the individuals who participated in our inaugural event including Joe Grindstaff (General Manager, IEUA), AG Kawamura (Co-Chair, Solutions for the Land), Craig Owens (Senior Program Manager, Willdan Energy Solutions), Robert Wilkinson (Adjunct Professor, UC Santa Barbara), Graham Beatty (Director Project Management & Finance, Poseidon), and Brian Tarroja, PhD., (Associate Manager of Sustainable Energy & Transportation and Senior Research Scientist, UC Irvine).