You are on page 1of 20

WaterforTomorrow

Californias Water, Our Responsibility


Volume Two Number Two

A River Runs Through It:


Balancing the Needs of People, Industry and the Environment
Everywhere a Watershed A Word with Alexandra Cousteau

CHECKING IN

dear READERS,
Tahoe National Forest near French Meadows Reservoir.

Californians have come to understand that water is a growing challenge and a top-line political issue, unlike any other. But to fully grasp the matter, we must examine it in a broader context from a historical standpoint, but also in relation to present-day environmental challenges such as climate change. With this approach, we can strive to more intelligently and effectively implement innovations and refine policies and plans. In this issue of Water for Tomorrow, we present many stories that examine this broader context. A River Runs Through It: Balancing the Needs of People, Industry and the Environment highlights the age-old art of compromise how communities are working together to save endangered species while keeping in mind the interests of agriculture, government, and business, as well as the millions of people who rely on water every day. As you will see, its a delicate balance, but one that has achieved promising results for three of our most beautiful rivers. It may not be widely known, but there are 2,110 watersheds in the continental United States, with close to 200 in California alone, and we are all critically dependent upon the water they provide. Everywhere a Watershed takes a look at what actually defines a watershed and

how we can best manage and protect these ecological systems so that our natural water supplies remain intact. In addition to this, we discuss how climate change is affecting the Sierra snowpack, river flows, groundwater reserves, and even sea level rise. T oday, in California, water must be managed with these new realities in mind. Finally, in Responsible Water Management: Where California Stands, we zoom out to consider our states water system in the broadest context of all, the worldwide view. Although we may have more challenges to face at home, Californias bold initiatives to recycle and desalinate alternative water sources can ultimately serve as excellent models for other countries. There are many aspects of Californias water system to be proud of, not the least of which is the concerted effort being made by all communities to conserve water. Other countries around the world are struggling on a daily basis to bring safe, clean water to their people. Let California be a bright example of a place that most efficiently uses this life-sustaining gift. Sincerely, Don Heymann Editor-in-Chief

TAKE OUR READER SURVEY


Launched in the spring of 2009, Water for Tomorrow is a new magazine produced by the Association of California Water Agencies in partnership with National Geographic custom publishing. Were very interested to hear your feedback on this groundbreaking publication, so please visit www.waterfortomorrowmag.com. Cover Photo: The Owens River
Photo Credit: Dale Kolke, California Department of Water Resources

2 Water for Tomorrow

Volume Two Number Two

VOLUME TWO NUMBER TWO

WaterforTomorrow
PUBLISHER Jeffrey Barasch EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Don Heymann ART DIRECTOR Bruce McGowin

TABLE of CONTENTS
4 A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT: BALANCING THE NEEDS OF PEOPLE, INDUSTRY AND THE ENVIRONMENT
Californians have long been perfecting the art of compromise when it comes to distributing water for the needs of people, agriculture, industry and recreation.

Association of California Water Agencies


PRESIDENT Paul Kelley VICE PRESIDENT Randy Record EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Timothy Quinn DIRECTOR OF STRATEGIC COORDINATION AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS Jennifer Persike Water for Tomorrow is published exclusively for ACWA by: Onward Publishing, Inc. in partnership with National Geographic 6 Bayview Avenue, Northport, NY 11768 Phone: 631.757.8300 www.onwardpublishing.com 2010 ACWA. All rights reserved www.acwa.com

RESPONSIBLE WATER MANAGEMENT: WHERE CALIFORNIA STANDS


Although California has its share of water supply problems, these issues often pale in comparison to the challenges many countries face every day.

12

EVERYWHERE A WATERSHED
We each have a vital stake in our watersheds, and they must be protected and managed properly if we are to maintain a predictable source of high-quality drinking water.

14

ADVANCING CO-EQUAL GOALS


State legislation aims at improving water supply reliability while restoring ecosystems.

16

WATER CONSERVATION CASE STUDIES


Whether you visit one of the many professional carwashes in the state or landscape your property with native Californian low-water plants and grasses, there are many ways to conserve water.

NEXT ISSUE
Taking an in-depth look at the Colorado River, we will evaluate the current state of this vital 1,450mile-long water source. We will also discuss how groundwater makes up 50 percent of Californias water supply. Plus, a study of water as art.

18 19

FUN & FACTS A WORD WITH ALEXANDRA COUSTEAU


The granddaughter of legendary undersea explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau shares her thoughts about Californias water and environmental issues.

Visit us online at www.waterfortomorrowmag.com for helpful links and to learn more about Californias water.

www.waterfortomorrowmag.com

Californias Water, Our Responsibility 3

A River Runs Through It:


Balancing the Needs of People, Industry and the Environment

California is a state with abundant natural beauty from majestic, snow-peaked mountains to rushing rivers and cool lakes teeming with fish and other aquatic life. Residents are proud, and rightly so, of these exceptional resources. Often, however, Californians find themselves in disagreement over how to best manage these resources so that they will still be here in the years to come.

supply for the regions economic health and planned development to the year 2030, and

Preserve for generations to come the nationally recognized fishery, wildlife and recreational values and natural beauty of the Lower American River.
Because of this comprehensive Water Forum Agreement, the region is now meeting its needs in a balanced way on such key issues as groundwater management, water diversions, dry year water supplies, water conservation, and protection of the Lower American River. T o make sure these plans are carried out effectively, the Agreement is supported by guidelines that strengthen commitments and contracts, as well as an early warning system to identify potential problems and creatively resolve them as they arise. T o protect this amazing natural resource, the right people came together voluntarily to cooperate, to resolve conflicts and to negotiate in good faith, with an openness to all interests, says the Water Forums executive director T om Gohring. Now were on our way.

The American River

hile we all see pressing environmental issues through different lenses, the ability to balance our varied interests in a spirit of cooperation is essential if we are to successfully protect these resources. The fact is, balancing the water needs of agriculture, industry and, of course, millions of people while preserving our environment has been a challenge for over a century.

also supplying power and irrigation to Northern California. From whitewater action to calm-water paddling, and from fishing in a clear lake to hiking along a cool stream, there is a lot to love and protect along the American River. This important waterway, which hugs our state capital, boasts the recreational American River Parkway, a 4,000-acre, 23-mile-long stretch, first proposed by Sacramentos city planner John Nolen in 1915 as well as the Folsom Dam, which provides critical flood control and stores water for irrigation, domestic use, and electrical power generation. In the mid-1990s, however, it became apparent that long-standing conflicts about managing the river had to be overcome to reverse the prospects of water shortages, environmental degradation, groundwater contamination, and threats to groundwater reliability. Thus the Water Forum was born a diverse group of business and agricultural leaders, citizens groups, environmentalists, water managers, and local governments in Sacramento, Placer and El Dorado counties. After conducting hundreds of public meetings at which the range of interested parties were able to express their views, members of the Water Forum agreed in 2000 to principles now known as the Water Forum Agreement a comprehensive package of linked actions designed to achieve two co-equal objectives:

In recent years, California can point to successful water and environmental initiatives that have, indeed, balanced the needs of all constituents thanks to a combined effort and the art of compromise. These important initiatives are helping to preserve some of Californias most beautiful and vital natural features including the American, Russian, and Owens rivers.

The Russian River: Saving Endangered Fish


Just a short drive from the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento, the Russian River is a preferred getaway for residents of these vibrant urban centers.

The American River: Forging the Water Forum Agreement


Often called the Sacramento regions crown jewel, the Lower American River originates in the high Sierra Nevada, in the Tahoe and El Dorado National Forests, and provides drinking water to millions of Californians. The rivers three main forks flow through the Sierra foothills and converge east of Sacramento. Along their way the water, rapids, lakes and reservoirs provide recreation to more than one million visitors each year while

The Russian River

Provide a reliable and safe water


www.waterfortomorrowmag.com Californias Water, Our Responsibility 5

They visit to enjoy the grandness of nature including nearby wine country, the famous redwoods and coastal areas, as well as rafting, sport fishing, and hiking. The Russian River watershed, the most populous in the North Coast encompassing 1,485 square miles, supports gravel mining, vineyards, orchards and other agricultural crops while supplying drinking water to 600,000 people. With such important demands on the river, the question of how to go about protecting endangered species requires careful consideration and the ability to tame strong emotions. The Russian River and its tributaries are home to three species of fish the steelhead, coho and chinook salmon that are classified as endangered or threatened under federal and state laws. In an effort to help the endangered fish thrive again among these interests, the National Marine Fisheries Service issued a Biological Opinion the culmination of more than a decade of studies that analyze the impact of the rivers water supply and flood control projects on these species. The Sonoma County Water Agency created the Russian River Instream Flow and Restoration Project to oversee the implementation of corrective actions over 15 years. The primary goal is to restore fisheries through significant habitat improvements, which includes providing access to a 50-mile area of the river that once had a flow-control barrier, explains Paul Kelley, supervisor of Sonoma County and president of the Association of California Water Agencies. While the Biological Opinion is a federal mandate on local operations, Kelley explains, This kind of adaptive management benefits all interested parties because it helps a great river thrive. Our approach to this incredible natural resource is 6 Water for Tomorrow

critical for the fisheries, as well as recreation and agriculture, he adds. It proves that a little compromising goes a long way.

Board ordered the protection of Mono Lake, so it could rise to a healthy level of 6,392 feet above sea level 20 feet above its historic low. One way the city of Los Angeles adapted to this loss of water was through intensive development of local water resources. Most people dont know that, since 1978, Los Angeless population has grown by 1.28 million people, and yet the city is using about the same amount of water as it did 40 years ago. The departments conservation programs have been tremendously successful, and its development of local water supplies through conservation, water recycling, better use of groundwater and other measures has allowed the LADWP to serve more people while diverting significantly less water from Mono Lake and the Owens Valley area, says Martha Davis, former executive director of the Mono Lake Committee. T wenty miles south of Mono Lake, the Lower Owens River is undergoing the largest river restoration of its kind in the United States. A big piece of this dynamic project is the re-watering of a 62-mile-long stretch of river and adjacent floodplain left essentially dry after water was diverted into the Los Angeles Aqueduct in 1913. The transformation of the Lower Owens River has been remarkable. Were already seeing the greening effects of the re-watering as nature and recreational uses return to the river, says James McDaniel, a manager at LADWP. As we continue on our mission to provide water for Los Angeles, we remain committed to our environmental obligations in the Owens Valley. Though much work remains to be done, the re-watering of the Lower Owens is a promising start. Mono Lake and the Owens River were once the subject of intense conflict, but today, the art of compromise and the spirit of cooperation are alive and well.

Mono Lake and the Lower Owens River: A Dynamic Restoration

The Owens River

Mono Lake, a vital habitat for millions of migratory and nesting birds covering 70 square miles, is nestled at the edge of the arid Great Basin and the snowy Sierra Nevada mountains. Freshwater streams feed Mono Lake, supporting forests of cottonwood and willow along their banks. On the lakeshore, scenic limestone formations known as tufa towers rise from the waters surface. From 1941 until 1990, diversions of water from the Mono Basin by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) had a significant effect on Mono Lake. As a result of the diversions, Mono Lake dropped 45 vertical feet, lost half its volume, and doubled in salinity. The Mono Lake Committee, founded in 1978, led the effort to save the lake. In 1994, after over a decade of litigation, the California State Water Resources Control

Volume Two Number Two

Climate Change: ThE ImpACT IS NOw

Diminished snowpack has become evident in the Sierra Nevada range where DWR teams are routinely sent to measure snow depth and check water content.

Climate change in California is evident here and now, and its making a profound impact on our water resources. Proof is in the changing nature of snowpack, river flows, groundwater reserves, and sea level rise.
These changes are expected to continue, as more precipitation in the state will likely fall as rain instead of snow, and as shifting weather patterns exacerbate flood risks and further challenge water supply reliability. At Golden Gate Recreation Area tidal records show a sea level rise of about eight inches in the last 100 years. This rate is expected to increase with scientists projecting a rise of another 21 to 55 inches by the year 2100. By accumulating snow during wet winters and releasing it slowly when its needed during dry springs and summers, the Sierra snowpack provides as much as 65 percent of Californias water supply.

With warmer temperatures, however, the snow will melt faster and earlier, making it more difficult to store and use. In fact, scientists project a loss of at least 25 percent of the Sierra snowpack by 2050. Furthermore, a recent analysis conducted in July found that more than 30 counties in California are at high risk of water shortages by mid-century due to impacts of climate change, making water supply planning more difficult. With this global shift in climate, more variable weather patterns may lead to longer and more severe droughts. In addition, sea level rise will threaten the sustainability of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the source of water for 25 million Californians spanning from the Bay Area to Southern California and millions of acres of prime farmland. As these threats evolve, climate change has become a powerful environmental policy driver at both the state and federal levels. With passage of the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006,

California launched the nations most comprehensive initiative in response to climate change, followed by the states 2009 Climate Adaptation Plan. The Association of California Water Agencies has adopted a number of policy principles related to climate and water management in California (www.acwa.com/content/climatechange/climate-change-policy-principles). Meanwhile, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) is addressing these impacts through a series of mitigation and adaptation measures to ensure an adequate water supply, reliable flood control, and healthy ecosystems. The department addresses climate change primarily through its California Water Plan, last updated in November 2009, which provides a framework for water managers, legislators, and the public to consider options and make decisions regarding Californias water future. It is also developing a Climate Action Plan across all DWR programs. To learn more, visit www.water.ca.gov.
Californias Water, Our Responsibility 7

www.waterfortomorrowmag.com

Responsible Water Management: Where California Stands

California may have its share of problems providing enough water for its large and growing population, but often these problems pale in comparison to the challenges many countries face every day.

n most developed countries, the water supplied to households, commerce, and industry is of drinking water standard and relatively plentiful. But large parts of the world have inadequate access to safe water and these populations end up using contaminated sources. In the whole of Africa, only 46 percent of the population has safe drinking water.

systems, such as the State Water Project, that are essential to the people and economy of California. Distribution is the focal point of most fundamental controversies surrounding Californias water supply. Most of Californias precipitation occurs in the states vast mountain ranges, especially the Sierra Nevada range in the east. However, most water demand arises at the lower elevations in the urban centers of the Bay Area and Southern California and in the expansive agricultural area of the Central Valley. The demand for water is highest during the dry summer months when there is little natural precipitation or snowmelt. Californias variable climate also leads to periods of drought followed by flooding. But these water supply challenges have been addressed by one of the most complex and sophisticated water storage and transport systems in the world an integrated system of dams, reservoirs, pumping plants, and aqueducts, which

transport large portions of the states surface water hundreds of miles to cities and farms. Californias growth the most populous state in the U.S. and sixth largest economy in the world can be largely attributed to its ability to manage water resources, from controlling floods to storing water for droughts, from producing hydro-electric power to providing water recreation. This development has significantly altered Californias rivers, streams, natural marshlands, and the wildlife inhabiting these areas. But over the last few decades, new approaches to water conservation and management have been developed to help restore these resources. As noted in this issue of Water for Tomorrow, a number of laws and initiatives have been enacted to protect endangered species, clean up polluted rivers and lakes, conserve water, and protect open spaces and wilderness areas.

California Works
California stands in sharp contrast. Ninety-seven percent of the states population receives its water from public water systems, the remaining three percent from private wells and other sources. Essentially, almost every resident in California has access to safe water. The states Water Plan is comprehensive, addressing national, state, and regional concerns. With this integrated water management approach, regions implement strategies appropriate to their own needs, as statewide programs provide for upgrades to large physical 8 Water for Tomorrow
Volume Two Number Two

Polluted water on the Yamuna River, Agra, India. Engineer studying banks of reverse osmosis cells. A WaterAid pump in the village of Asheda, Ethiopia.

Finding New Sources


In its constant search to find new sources of clean water to meet growing demand, California is implementing a multitude of strategies. At the forefront is educating the general populace about the importance of water conservation. In addition, for the first time ever, the government has mandated that urban water agencies reduce statewide per capita water consumption 20 percent by the year 2020. Water recycling is another important approach that has been embraced with greater enthusiasm in recent years. Orange County, for example, has a water purification system that provides enough drinking-quality water to supply 500,000 residents annually. Today, there are more than 250 water recycling plants operating in the state, and more are planned for the future. Furthermore, 12 water agencies are working on desalination projects to desalinate such diverse sources as Pacific Ocean water and brackish groundwater. Other countries are also pursuing this approach. In Spain, for example, climate conditions are similar to large areas of California, with low annual rates of precipitation. Thats why desalination

has been a key capability in Spain for decades. The country has more than 900 desalination plants, nearly half using ocean water as a source. Another key strategy in California is the development over the past 15 years of local resources including off-stream storage in the southern part of the state and groundwater banking projects in several areas around the state. Voluntary water marketing, which is the practice of moving conserved water from willing sellers to areas of the state where it is needed has been a critical water management tool in dry times and will continue to play an increasingly important role.

city in India has a continuous water supply. In fact, among the 35 Indian cities with more than a million people, not one has water for more than a few hours a day. Meanwhile, nearly a billion people one in every six people on the planet do not have access to safe water. The vast majority of these people live in poor rural areas. While the costs of developing and maintaining a secure water infrastructure are high for many countries, there is considerable proof that good water systems help countries improve their economic outlook. The United Nations Development Program says that for every dollar invested in water and sanitation, eight are returned in increased productivity. Just reducing waste can also help. The World Bank estimates that if water-system loss was reduced by 50 percent, 228 million more people in the world could have access to clean water. Californias state and regional water system may be in need of a substantial upgrade, and the challenges of climate change are monumental. But with a viable, working system in place, the vast majority of Californians are fortunate to have access to safe, clean water every day.

Facing Challenges in the Developing World


Elsewhere in emerging economies, many countries continue to struggle to provide clean water. In India, for example, water supply is insufficient, though the government and local communities have continued to invest in and improve their systems, especially over the last 10 years as the economy has grown. In that time, the number of Indians with access to improved water sources has increased to nearly 90 percent. But problems persist. No major

www.waterfortomorrowmag.com

Californias Water, Our Responsibility 9

Water sustains all.


Thales of Miletus (624 B.C. 546 B.C.)
This page, clockwise from top left: An orange glow over Mono Lake; Sunset over Baja California; Drakes Bay, Point Reyes National Seashore; A view of Bridalveil Fall from the Merced River, Yosemite National Park Opposite, clockwise from top left: Yuba River; El Matador State Beach; Pinnacles National Monument; Shafts of sunlight illuminate a Yosemite forest; Detail of a Valley Oak tree in Santa Ynez Valley

Would you like to see your photo featured here? Send it to waterfortomorrow@acwa.com

Everywhere a
Any discussion about water supply and conservation includes references to watersheds. We all live in watersheds and need to protect and manage them. But what exactly is a watershed? And why is it

IMPORTANT?

12 Water for Tomorrow

Volume Two Number Two

watershed

imply put, a watershed is an area of land that collects and contains water (sometimes underground through tiny streams), and drains it off into the same place or places. All living things are inextricably linked by these common water courses. Watersheds come in all shapes and sizes. Crossing county, state, and national boundaries, there are 2,110 watersheds in the continental U.S., with nearly 200 in California alone.

important value or service than a predictable supply of high-quality water. The problem is that we dont make as much of an investment in, or pay as much attention to, managing the sources of watersheds as compared to the investments we make once the water is downstream and being readied for use. As a result, says Lowrie, people dont always notice that were losing water volume at these sources due to poor land management activities that cause runoff, water diversions, and lower precipitation caused by climate change. Even pumping water out of creeks to make snow for ski slopes, for example, can cause losses and affects flow characteristics in watersheds. Fortunately, the 2012 Water Bond provides the largest source of funds for investment in California watersheds in the states history. Its important to manage our resources more thoughtfully and carefully, with a watershed in mind, says Lowrie. The needs of humanity are dependent on watersheds so they must be part of the solution. Thats why its useful to explain the specific values, goods and services that watersheds provide so their importance is not as abstract. Whether we know it or not, we all share common goals and have a vital stake in watersheds.

Think of it as a kind of bathtub that gets filled and then drains and flows to a common outlet, explains John Lowrie, state watershed manager of the California Department of Conservation. Actually, every piece of land is part of a watershed. In California, for instance, a watershed can start with melting mountain snow that forms many small streams in the forest, which eventually flow down to a river or other larger body of water. Why are watersheds important? Lowrie says watersheds are ecological systems that provide values, goods and services, like clean water, fish and wildlife, agricultural products, timber, and recreation for people. Every watershed provides its own unique set of these values, goods and services. For California, he notes, watersheds provide no more

www.waterfortomorrowmag.com

Californias Water, Our Responsibility 13

Advancing Co-Equal Goals:

Reliable Water Supply, Healthy Ecosystems

California is more serious than ever about managing its water supply in a comprehensive manner, since the Legislature passed a far-reaching package of water bills in November 2009. The package, signed into law by Governor Schwarzenegger, is aimed at improving the states water supply reliability while restoring the ecosystem of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the hub of the states water system and a nationally recognized estuary.
The 2009 legislative package marks an important step toward addressing Californias water challenges. The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is in an ecological crisis that has led to historic restrictions on water deliveries and threatens the states economy and key species, such as salmon and Delta smelt. The package includes four policy bills and an $11.14 billion water bond measure that for the first time advances the co-equal goals of a more reliable water supply and Delta ecosystem restoration in state law. It also mandates urban water conservation targets by 2020 and establishes a new governing structure for the Delta. 14 Water for Tomorrow
Volume Two Number Two

The water bond, a significant part of the initiative, is set for the November 2012 ballot and includes substantial funding for: water supply reliability groundwater protection watershed restoration conservation water recycling Delta restoration

surface and groundwater storage drought relief

It was announced on August 10th that the bond measure, originally set for Nov. 2010, would be delayed until the 2012 ballot in consideration of the states current economic woes and budget issues. Paul Kelley, the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) president, says the rescheduling of the bond does not diminish the importance of the legislative package or the need for investments in the states water infrastructure. We know the decision to move the bond to the November 2012 ballot was a difficult one, but we applaud legislative leaders and the governor for working together to guide this process and set a new date to place this important measure before the voters. Another significant piece of the legislation establishes a new governing structure for managing the Delta called the Delta Stewardship Council. Consisting of seven members with a statewide view, the council is responsible for monitoring the progress of all Delta water programs. In essence, the council is both a coordinating and accountability watchdog body for all state and local water projects.Californias water supply is not growing, but demand for more water is growing, explains the councils chairman Phil Isenberg, former state assemblyman and mayor of Sacramento. At the same time, the Delta ecosystem is suffering because of reduced fresh water flowing into the Delta, exports from the Delta, a variety of pollution and invasive species, threats from floods and earthquakes, and a host of other factors. The piecemeal solutions of the past have proved ineffective.

Part of this legislation created the Delta Stewardship Council and told us to adopt, by January 2012, a legally enforceable Delta Plan that will guide state and local policy, Isenberg says. The problems of our Delta will not be fixed overnight, but we have to start now. This comprehensive Delta Plan will encompass the work of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP), so long as BDCP meets statutory requirements. Launched in 2006, the BDCP is establishing a planning and environmental permitting process to restore habitat for Delta fisheries in a way that reliably delivers water supplies to 25 million Californians. The BDCP is focused on identifying conservation strategies to improve the overall ecological health of the Delta, identifying ecologically sound ways to move fresh water through and around the Delta, and addressing toxic pollutants, invasive species, and impairments to water quality. The Delta serves the ecosystem, agriculture, recreation, and also provides a drinking-water supply. The Delta has been and is still changing, says Karla Nemeth with the California Natural Resources Agency. We are pursuing the BDCP to address conflicts in the way the state conveys water and protects the ecosystem, and are seeking solutions for an environmentally sustainable water supply delivery system. At the time of this writing, federal and state agencies, environmental organizations, fishery agencies, water agencies and other organizations are negotiating to develop a plan that will strike the right balance.

W ater for Tomorrow Reader Survey


Launched in the Spring of 2009, Water for Tomorrow is a new magazine produced by ACWA in partnership with National Geographic custom publishing. Were interested to hear your feedback on this groundbreaking publication. This will be very helpful in improving our ability to provide you with the best and most up-to-date information on water issues in the state of California.

Please visit www.waterfortomorrowmag.com


www.waterfortomorrowmag.com Californias Water, Our Responsibility 15

WATER CONSERVATION:

BUSINESS CASE STUDY

pROfESSIONAL CARwAShES DRIvE wATER-wISE wAyS AND pROTECT ThE ENvIRONmENT


The inclination of Californias 33 million registered car owners to wash their vehicles themselves during tough economic times may be costing us all more than we realize. Its not just the 100 gallons of precious water used during a typical home carwash that taxes the environment, its also the toxic soup of soaps, engine fluids, grease, and other bits of metal and rubber that flow from dirty vehicles directly into neighborhood storm drains. Because this runoff imperils ecosystems, erodes water quality, and is costly to clean, communities end up paying the price. About 40 percent of Californians wash their cars at home on a monthly basis. This translates into 160 million home washes a year. Calculate the water expended and the amount of pollutants released into our watersheds from this activity and the impact is severe. Fortunately, there is a simple antidote: Make a visit to your professional neighborhood carwash. Its time to shatter the myth that carwashes are water-wasting, polluting entities. Rather, todays professional carwashes not only conserve water, they protect our fragile watersheds by preventing dangerous pollutants from entering our lakes, rivers, and bays. These businesses also create jobs, preserve our auto investments, and provide lucrative fundraising options for schools, churches, and other non-profits. Our members voluntarily adhere to stringent water conservation policies and employ technologies that can clean a vehicle using about two-thirds less water than a home carwash, says Ross Hutchings, executive director of the Western Carwash Association. We recycle our water, and separate soaps and other toxins into secure holding tanks. These chemicals get diverted into the sewer system where they are properly treated before being released into our waterways. Even though a professional carwash is more beneficial to the environment, WCA environmental committee chair Randy Cressall acknowledges that some people will still clean their cars at home, and he has some tips for them. Wash your car on a lawn or permeable gravel surface. This helps to prevent pollutants from entering our watersheds, where they can poison wildlife, and even inhibit the natural reproduction of aquatic species. Also be sure to use a nozzle on your hose that regulates water flow. The WCA website offers more tips on community-safe, home-based carwashing at www.wcwa.org.

Charity carwashes held in parking lots have honorable intent, but harmful environmental impact. To combat the problem and give charities an effective way to raise money, WCA members allow non-profits to host fundraising carwashes at their professional, water-wise facilities. Western Carwash Association members provide quality products and facilities at cost and charities like cash-strapped high school bands and sports teams provide most of the staff. Groups sell $10 tickets to boosters and other patrons who then receive a professional $23 wash in return. These charitable fundraisers consistently generate $5,000 per event. With everyone united in a common cause, these groups build team spirit while helping to protect the environment.

16 Water for Tomorrow

Volume Two Number Two

RESIDENTIAL CASE STUDY

SmART GARDENS AND LANDSCApES: REAL pEOpLE, REAL SOLuTIONS, REAL SAvINGS
Because California is facing unprecedented water challenges, due, in part, to factors like ongoing drought and population growth, the Department of Water Resources and the Association of California Water Agencies have partnered to develop the Save Our Water program. Designed to educate residents about the states severe water shortages, the program encourages consumers to significantly reduce their household water use. One part of the program is the Real People, Real Savings campaign, which profiles a number of actual residents who have made significant water-saving changes to their everyday lives. By highlighting their improvements, the program aims to motivate other real Californians to conserve water. Below are some water-savvy examples from California gardeners whose changes are yielding a host of economic, environmental, and social rewards.

Mariah Kaffka
Mariah Kaffka thinks its high time that people start thinking out of the box when it comes to landscaping. When she and her husband bought their house in Menifee (in Riverside County), she knew right away that she wanted to design a property that combined hardscape with low-water plants and trees. T oday, her front yard is beautiful and gives her family an ideal place to sit and enjoy the outdoors. I believe it is every individuals responsibility within a collective to respect and preserve our Earths gift, she says.

Kathryn McClelland Mariah Kaffka

Santosh Seeram-Santana
When Santosh Seeram-Santana first purchased her home in Sacramento, she wanted to create a water-efficient landscape that required little or no weekly maintenance. T oday, Santosh and her husband have a property that is filled with beautiful bamboo, low-water grasses, and California-friendly flowers. Their efforts have produced a relaxing, soothing environment to spend time in after work, and theyve even installed a recirculating water system. Gardening is another form of meditation, says Santosh, pleased that her garden allows her to enjoy its rewards without the pressure of weekly lawn chores.

Kathryn McClelland
Bedecked with lovely verbena, gloriously hued hollyhocks, lupine, and zinnia, Kathryn McClellands aromatic garden in Pleasanton has always turned heads. But her plants are more than just showy flowers theyre also smart choices for water-wise gardening. The best thing I ever did was replace my thirsty, labor-intensive lawn with low-water, easy-care California natives and Mediterranean plantings, she says. Vibrant-colored salvia and Santa Barbara Island live-forever also lure hummingbirds and butterflies. Her thoughtful approach to conservation has created a charming enclave that delights the senses and supports the wildlife that keeps her garden thriving.

Santosh SeeramSantana

Yaz & Richard Manley


Yaz and Richard Manley of San Marcos see saving water as a natural part of responsible living. Saving water is important because its precious, limited, and vital to all forms of life. We can no longer afford to take it for granted, says Yaz. Their solution is one of prudent sustainability: In areas where youre already watering, why not also produce something delicious for the table? Favorite edibles include Brown Turkey fig, Oroblanco grapefruit, and pumpkin. Our water does double duty by providing us with a healthy snack at arms reach.

Yaz & Richard Manley


Californias Water, Our Responsibility 17

www.waterfortomorrowmag.com

FUN & FACTS

Watery
ACROSS 1. Decay 4. Old Testament prophet 8. Swindle 12. Sorta suffix 13. Lima is its capital 14. *Small salmon 15. *Water deficiency 17. Med school subject 18. Goldsmiths units 19. Feudal servants 21. Debt indicators 23. M.P.H. 24. Choir song 27. Not often seen 29. Pesky tyke 32. Flower buzzer 33. *Carpenters tool 34. Whisper sweet nothings 35. Have obligations 36. Hold on ___! (Wait!) 37. *Discontinue 38. Highland hat 40. Auld Lang ___ 42. The Lion King king 44. *Seashores

1 12 15 18

4 13 16

8 14 17

10

11

wISDOm

By Rich Norris 2010, Rich Norris

19 21 22 27 33 36 38 42 39 43 49 52 55 50 40 44 28

20 23 29 34 37 41 45 46 47 30 31

48. Indian princess 49. *Answer (ideal result of 26-Down) 51 Units of work 52 Bakery fixture 53. Miracle-___ (garden product) 54. *Ocean denizens 55. Theyre in one year and out the other 56. *Like 2011 cars DOWN 1. *Insurers exposure 2. Workers protection agency 3. God of thunder 4. Is ___ (probably will) 5. *Calibrates 6. Nonprofits URL ending 7. Takes to court 8. Frighten 9. *Clash, as of needs during a 15-Across 10. I got it! shouts 11. Bon ___ (witticism) 16. *Cloudburst 20. Daredevil Knievel

24 32 35

25

26

48 51 54

53 56

22. *Doesnt throw out 24. Network that won the most 2010 Emmys 25. Elastic wood 26. *Get-togethers to address a 9-Down 28. Processed for further use 30. Cow call 31. Weasel sound 33. Marys little one

37. Ticket guarantee 39. Pennsylvania Dutch group 41. Adjectives modify them 42. Garb for 48-Across 43. Dating from 45. Speed limit indicator 46. Ripped 47. *Water source, when it melts 48. NFL mic wearer 50. Eggs in labs

keeping
ANSWERS
S I G N T O R E S N O W

count

Water-saving features can reduce in-home water use by 35%, or an average 130,000 gallons per year Dripping faucets, running toilets, and other household leaks can waste more than 10,000 gallons each year Simple changes to more efficient water use could save you about $170 per year

18 Water for Tomorrow

Volume Two Number Two

R O T I S H S H O R K A R A I H Y M N B E E O W E T A S I M R A N I E R G S F I S H

A M O S S P E R U C A T A G E S E R T S O U S V E R A R E L E V E L A S E C S M S Y N E B A C O A S O L U T O V E N F A D S

C O N F L I C T

M P O O O P A M H O A T S

Over 250 water recycling plants currently operate in California, a major player worldwide
The Groundwater Replenishment System in Orange County produces 70 million gallons per day

FINAL THOUGHTS

A Word with. . . Alexandra Cousteau


The granddaughter of legendary undersea explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau shares her ideas about Californias water and environmental issues.

Q A

Q. Youve been exploring the countrys critical water issues on your current 138-day Expedition Blue Planet: North America. What sort of challenges did you see in California and do you feel those challenges are being met? A. The truth is, water doesnt recognize city or state boundaries. As we continue to grow and develop, the scale and reach of our demand expands as well. California feels this across both water quantity and water quality. Good policy and management are critical to meeting these challenges, but most importantly, we must overcome public apathy. The Colorado River, from which much of Southern Californias water is taken, is already over allocated and will most likely be unable to continue to quench the thirst of a growing population. Other water resources are similarly strained. Only by engaging people of all ages in a concerted effort to protect and restore precious water resources will we avert the water crisis that some scientists and managers foresee for many parts of the American Southwest, including California.

Q A

Q. Along your epic journey, what types of new water technologies, innovations, or practices did you discover? A. One of the most exciting technologies that Ive seen in California is the wastewater recycling plant in Orange County, which uses microfiltration, reverse osmosis, ultraviolet light, and hydrogen peroxide disinfection. Seventy million gallons of wastewater are treated per day at this facility, meeting the drinking needs of over 500,000 people, including visitors to Disneyland. I visited the plant myself just a year ago and drank the purified water on site. The water is so pure once it has been treated, that minerals are added back into the water before being injected into the ground to recharge aquifers. Recycling water is a more cost effective solution than desalination, using less energy and less effort to purify water for public consumption and with much less negative impact on the environment. I truly believe that people in Southern California and around the world are going to have to accept wastewater recycling if we are going to continue to provide water for all people, especially in times of drought.

Q A

Q. You are founder and president of the non-profit Blue Legacy International. Since its inception in 2008, what has been your mission?

A. The inspiration to create Blue Legacy came from over a decade spent exploring waterways around the world. I studied shark conservation in French Polynesia and Central America, humpback whales in Maui, dolphins in Florida, water and sanitation issues in Guatemala and Tanzania, and then I spent two years living in Costa Rica working on marine protected areas with the government and coastal fishing communities. I realized that we cannot solve our water issues by focusing on a single species or place. Our water resources are interconnected, placing each of us directly downstream from one another. If we are going to be successful at protecting our environment and our communities, then we need to understand the systems that balance the quality and quantity of water we need to survive.

www.waterfortomorrowmag.com

Californias Water, Our Responsibility 19

910 K Street, Suite 100 Sacramento, CA 95814-3577

PRESORTED STANDARD U.S. POSTAGE PAID ONWARD PUBLISHING INC.