Water Efficiency and Energy Efficiency in the Central Valley

November of 2014 was Election Day and while this was not a presidential election, there were plenty of issues to vote on and of course, an energy efficiency initiative was on the ballot. For example, we have the water bond, which passed with 66.8% of voters in favor. California has been in a serious drought that's so severe that there were reports earlier this year that East Porterville that water needed to be rationed. Residence only received a 3 week supply of water per person. So it would be more than expected that there be a water reform issue on the ballot. This brings us to Proposition 1 which would improve water infrastructure in California, including watershed protection.

What does the water bond and water itself have to do with energy efficiency? Due to the severity of the drought, more water has to be pumped from underground sources to provide for farmers, businesses and residences. Theses pumps cannot function without electricity and since Fresno has not seen decent rain in what seems like forever, the pumps are working harder and using more energy. Of course this means more taxpayer dollars being spent to pay for the energy used so water can be accessed. Along with working harder for water, the infrastructure of water is, according to the San Francisco Examiner, over 100 years old. So saying that there are leaking pipes across the state of California would be more of a fact than a theory. Currently energy efficiency is not waters strongest suite.

Why should anyone care? Right next to electricity and probably smartphones, mankind is extremely dependent on water; furthermore, if all aspects of clean energy (water, solar, biomass, and wind) were utilized to the fullest of their extent, water could not play a significant role in reducing our dependency on fossil fuels. With apparent climate change developing across the U.S., we would need complete access to clean energy resources to maintain our way of living. What’s equally important is the Central Valley, one of the nation’s largest produce providers must irrigate to grow crops for consumption and this past year was one of the worst droughts California has experienced which left farmers in a difficult spot.

What can we do?

We have already passed Proposition 1 which is a great step. But everyone from your local government to your preschool can help conserve water. Visalia took a step by only allowing 12 watering days a year and the City of Fresno has already mandated that from December 1st thru March 1st, there is no outdoor watering as well as no watering between 6AM and 7PM. However, I think for California to truly conserve water, not only would mandates need to come down on a statewide level but homeowners/renters can do their part and have a critical impact on our water supply. For example, I recently learned how much a waste of water and energy bottled water is – apparently more expensive than gas per gallon. You can visit Treehugger to see what ways you can conserve water and energy.
.   .   .Fingers crossed that passing the water bond will have a positive impact on water supply.