Studies show that California has enough water-but where does it go?

Dr. Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute wrote an article about the amount of water wasted by California. As you probably know, California now has a mandate to reduce water consumption by at least 20% by the year 2020. While this seems like quite a reach, it is actually very easily attainable.
The way California could meet—and possibly surpass the goal—is by reducing wasted water. For example, over 50% of toilets today are non-efficient versions, wasting up to 2 gallons per flush. Also, more than three quarters of Californian crops are watered by inefficient irrigation systems. By retrofitting these fixtures, water use would be significantly use. The excess water saved by these methods could very easily be diverted and used by other Californian crops, to help boost the economy and provide jobs for the unemployed.
On a related note, building a dam (The Temperance Flat Dam) could cost over $3 billion. The resulting increase in water supply is estimated to be only approximately 200,000 acre-feet of water. The clincher is that it is estimated to cost only $2 billion to retrofit toilets and irrigation systems, with a savings of over 400,000 acre feet. The choice is yours, California. Choose wisely.
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Brian O’Neill


Southern California water company targets water thieves

A recent phenomenon has been increasing in popularity, and illegality. Often practiced by contracting companies, water thieving is becoming an increasingly serious problem. Water agencies and water purveyors have been trying to crack down on this problem because it costs them money and creates potential for the water supply to be contaminated.
Water thieves are able to steal water by connecting hoses to fire hydrants and filling tank trucks. Tank trucks have a capacity of a few hundred gallons up to over 5,000 gallons. Many construction companies already own tank trucks for transporting various liquid products. They feel the need to steal water from the local water purveyors because legally, they are required to apply for a water meter and place a deposit of approximately $800 (which would be returned to the customer when the water meter is returned).
Water thieving can create a major problem for water agencies because they have defined amounts of water that they are allowed to use. Pumping any more water than that, and they will face a heavy fine from the State. Aside from these fines, the trucks used to transport stolen water are often not washed before use. This causes potential for contaminants to enter the water supply. This may not seem like much of a problem when the trucks transport water from other sources, but they are sometimes used to transport untreated sewage.
If you see any suspicious activity, please report it to your local authorities.
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Brian O’Neill

The U.S. Government will save some green by going green

President Obama recently signed Executive Order 13514, which mandates that the Government meet certain benchmarks in the years to come. This Executive Order will drastically reduce the amount of natural resources that the Government uses, such as water, energy, and landfills.
This Order not only will help the Government become greener, but also is expected to save some green. Estimates predict that these environmental actions will save up to $11 billion in energy costs alone. That doesn’t include the amount of water saved, or the reduced garbage produced by government buildings.
By 2015, 50% recycling and waste diversion must be practiced. By 2020, there will be a 30% reduction in vehicle fleet petroleum use, as well as a 26% increase in water efficiency.
Starting last November, the Government started a program called the GreenGov Challenge, a place for government employees to post ideas on how to meet these goals. This challenge allowed all government employees to submit their ideas and vote on others’ ideas too. Certain Government agencies then presented their proposals to the Steering Committee on Federal Sustainability.
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Brian O’Neill

Is wastewater the answer to crop water usage?

Since wastewater has been treated by sewage treatment plants, people have wondered if it can be used to irrigate crops. Many have argued that wastewater, also known as recycled water, or non-potable water, should not be used for crops since it does not meet the standards required for drinking water. However, farmers, water purveyors, and water districts have recently been pushing to use recycled water to irrigate crops.
The main argument against this issue is that mentioned before—that it doesn’t meet drinking water standards. Critics claim that the water can contain harmful bacteria or other contaminants such as metals that are unhealthy for human consumption. However, this water is considered to be safe enough to swim in.
Environmentalists argue that the water is safe enough to be used for irrigation. If the water is not used by irrigation, it must be released into natural ecosystems such as lakes or streams. The surge of water often changes the temperature or chemical composition of the water, making it inhospitable for native species. For example, water that is either too warm or too cold will change the temperature of surrounding water enough that spawning salmon will not be able to breed.
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Brian O’Neill