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Efficient Water Management

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Responsible Resource and Facility Management

Water and energy are quickly becoming some of the world’s most valuable and sought after commodities. These webcasts will feature live presentations by scientists, academics, and business leaders addressing the increasingly important issue of energy and water management. For businesses, efficiency will cut costs and promote environmental awareness, and for all, this summit will provide insight into best practices, tips, case studies, and solutions for responsible resource and facility management.

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Implementing Water Budget Rate Structures for Conservation Ken Baerenklau, UC Riverside & Tim Barr, Western Municipal Water District Ken Baerenklau will present the results of a study conducted at UC Riverside that examined the effects of switching from uniform to budget-based rates in the Eastern Municipal Water District of Southern California. The study utilized ten years of monthly water bills for 12,000 customers in EMWD’s service area to calibrate a household water demand model and then estimate the effects of the budget-based rate structure on water demand after controlling for average price level, weather, and income. The rate structure appears to have reduced demand by 10-15% primarily by causing previously inefficient households to become more efficient.

The second presentation, by Tim Barr, Western’s Deputy Director of Water Resources, will outline the Western Municipal Water District implementation of a water budget-based rate structure for its retail water customers. Western’s unique approach uses real-time, microzone-specific, evapotranspiration data and modified monthly turfgrass coefficients from UC research to calculate accurate landscape water budgets on a daily basis. Western’s finance and water efficiency staff collaborated with rate and horticultural consultants to develop a structure that safeguards the financial integrity of the District, provides each unique customer with the water they need, and sends appropriate pricing signals based on efficient water use with every water service bill. In 2015, Western linked the rate structure and the District’s shortage contingency program in anticipation of reduced water supplies due to statewide drought.
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Mar 24 2015
71 mins
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  • Ken Baerenklau will present the results of a study conducted at UC Riverside that examined the effects of switching from uniform to budget-based rates in the Eastern Municipal Water District of Southern California. The study utilized ten years of monthly water bills for 12,000 customers in EMWD’s service area to calibrate a household water demand model and then estimate the effects of the budget-based rate structure on water demand after controlling for average price level, weather, and income. The rate structure appears to have reduced demand by 10-15% primarily by causing previously inefficient households to become more efficient.

    The second presentation, by Tim Barr, Western’s Deputy Director of Water Resources, will outline the Western Municipal Water District implementation of a water budget-based rate structure for its retail water customers. Western’s unique approach uses real-time, microzone-specific, evapotranspiration data and modified monthly turfgrass coefficients from UC research to calculate accurate landscape water budgets on a daily basis. Western’s finance and water efficiency staff collaborated with rate and horticultural consultants to develop a structure that safeguards the financial integrity of the District, provides each unique customer with the water they need, and sends appropriate pricing signals based on efficient water use with every water service bill. In 2015, Western linked the rate structure and the District’s shortage contingency program in anticipation of reduced water supplies due to statewide drought.
  • Stormwater professionals have been studying stormwater control measures for decades, and foresters have been studying and growing urban trees for centuries. But the practice of combining the two to use trees as a Stormwater Control Measure is in its infancy. Recent results showing water quality benefits for urban tree/soil systems equal to and surpassing that of many traditional bioretention systems will be presented. As research is rapidly discovering ways to enhance performance of bioretention and urban tree/soil systems, this presentation will also highlight some of the most promising new developments, such as, for example, use of various soil amendments to enhance water quality performance, as well as design strategies to maximize stormwater volume and water quality benefits.
  • This session will showcase the work of two innovative Bay Area design firms and demonstrate water conservation strategies at a range of scales-from broad-level planning and analysis through detailed landscape design and construction. We will look at recently completed projects as case studies for watershed management solutions that are at once beautiful and functional, and provide quantifiable benefits demonstrating water reduction, cost savings, and ecological improvements. Results from original research and prototype testing will be shared. Implementation strategies include stormwater management, plant and material selection, greywater systems, living roofs, water recycling, and irrigation best practices.
  • How does long-term use of greywater affect the soil? Do households reduce water consumption after installing a greywater system? How much maintenance is required? Find out the results of a comprehensive study of 83 greywater systems in California. We monitored the effects of greywater systems on soil, plant health, quality of irrigation water, household water consumption, as well as user satisfaction and maintenance. We will offer recommendations for future system design and installation based on the results of the study.
  • This panel presentation will explore recently-completed work by Affiliated Engineers Inc. and Sherwood Design Engineers with a focus on projects at large institutions including Stanford University and UC Berkeley. Panelists will establish that water use reduction is cost effective even in locations without drought conditions and with moderately priced water and sewer services. Panelists will also prove the viability of water-focused ecodistricts and acknowledge that client commitment to long-term water sustainability, backed by sound economics, can guide future development. Case study examples will include university campus projects, a research building, a hospital and a former Marine Corps Air Station.
  • Many consider the current drought in California the worst since precipitation record keeping began over a hundred years ago. With the federal government declaring 27 California counties as “Natural Disaster Areas”, water districts are in a crisis mode. This panel discussion will include presentations by some of the largest and most progressive water utilities in Northern California: Contra Costa Water District, East Bay Municipal Utility District, Napa County, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and Zone 7 Water Agency. Each panelist will describe the water supply outlook for their district and outline the key activities they are pursuing to reduce water use.
  • Humans have been concerned over water and water supplies since agriculture and stock raising began some 10,000 years ago. What do we know about about droughts in the past and how did ancient societies handle them? Brian Fagan, an archaeologist, looks at examples from western North America and describes what we know about medieval droughts in California and their relevance to today’s water concerns. In what ways are we more vulnerable than those who lived through California droughts a thousand years ago? What fundamental differences are there between human relationships with water in the past and today?
  • Coordinating water-energy efficiency efforts provide a significant opportunity to achieve greater savings for both water and energy utilities. In particular, jointly run end-use water and energy efficiency programs have a huge potential to save energy and water at the home and at the supply source. Yet, coordinated programs face a number of challenges. In this panel, we will describe some of these challenges and how to overcome them. Panelists will include a researcher, a water specialist who has worked on the “Watts to Water” program and PG&E program managers for agricultural irrigation, clothes washers, and commercial kitchens.
  • This session was conceived as a way to acknowledge the 10th anniversary of the Water Conservation Showcase and will be structured as a panel discussion. The intention of the session is to take a quick look back at the status of water conservation from ten years ago when the first showcase was held, consider some of the most successful conservation efforts that are active today and explore how utilities will address water management in the future. The presentation will focus on current and emerging approaches toward providing water management services and tools to assist water customers in managing their own water use. These tools are applicable to existing customers as well as new development to maximize cost-effective water efficiency benefits.

    The panelists are from four of the most innovative and ambitious water utilities in California: Julie Ortiz of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), Richard Harris of the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD), Bill McDonald of the Metropolitan Water District, and Chris Dundon of the Contra Costa Water District. Each panelist will provide a brief presentation on their perspective of the past, present and future of water conservation. The bulk of the session will be set aside for what promises to be a lively discussion.
  • It is zero hour for a new US water policy! At a time when many countries are adopting new national approaches to water management, the United States still has no cohesive federal policy, and water-related authorities are dispersed across more than 30 agencies. Here, at last, is a vision for what we as a nation need to do to manage our most vital resource. In this book, leading thinkers at world-class water research institution the Pacific Institute present clear and readable analysis and recommendations for a new federal water policy to confront our national and global challenges at a critical time.

    What exactly is at stake? In the 21st century, pressures on water resources in the United States are growing and conflicts among water users are worsening. Communities continue to struggle to meet water quality standards and to ensure that safe drinking water is available for all. And new challenges are arising as climate change and extreme events worsen, new water quality threats materialize, and financial constraints grow. Yet the United States has not stepped up with adequate leadership to address these problems.

    The inability of national policymakers to safeguard our water makes the United States increasingly vulnerable to serious disruptions of something most of us take for granted: affordable, reliable, and safe water. This book provides an independent assessment of water issues and water management in the United States, addressing emerging and persistent water challenges from the perspectives of science, public policy, environmental justice, economics, and law. With fascinating case studies and first-person accounts of what helps and hinders good water management, this is a clear-eyed look at what we need for a 21st century U.S. water policy.

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