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March 16 program to explore link between water use and demand


By Anne Tolch


March 9, 2010 (San Diego) -- When we turn on our faucets we use not only water, but all the electricity and natural gas needed to transport, heat, and treat both water and the wastewater. With local supplies insufficient to meet demand, most of this water and energy comes from outside our region. During a normal year, as much as 90% of San Diego’s water is imported from the Colorado River and northern California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.


That’s right: that water coming out of your faucet travels up to 1,000 miles before it reaches you.


We’re all trying to conserve water, of course, through recycling, tiered rate structures, and improved requirements for landscaping, among other efforts. A prime target for conservation is residential irrigation because it accounts for 54% of all residential water use. According to the National Resources Defense Council, if San Diego were to rely upon conservation instead of additional water from Northern California, it would provide our next 100,000 acre-feet of water, while saving enough electricity to power 25 percent of all of the households in San Diego. That’s a lot of electricity!


But water conservation alone won’t be enough in the long-term. The San Diego region will add more than one million people by 2050. They alone will need an extra 2 million acre-feet of water annually -- that’s 657 billion gallons. The additional electricity required could power ALL current households in San Diego. And, our external water resources are dwindling, not growing.


So, we must develop sustainable alternatives for meeting growing demand on our water and energy. Preparing for this challenge requires innovation, open community dialogue, and mindful, integrated planning.


The Sustainability Alliance of Southern California is working to address these pressing needs. SASC, a local advocacy organization, will host a panel session at the California Center for Sustainable Energy, 8690 Balboa Ave. Suite 100, from 6-9 p.m. on March 16, 2010. Experts will discuss how water use in our region is linked to energy, what can be done to reduce usage of these vital resources and the sustainable alternatives that are available now to meet this future demand.


The panel will be moderated by Rob Davis from the Voice of San Diego and will consist of:


• Linda Pratt, Chief Program Manager for the Environmental Services Dept, City of San Diego
• Cathy Peroni, Long Range Planning, Water Resources Division, San Diego Public Utilities Dept.
• Rich Caputo, San Diego Renewable Energy Society
• Bill Rose, Water Conservation Program Executive, County Water Authority
• Janis Heppell, Senior Program Manager, Statewide Energy Efficiency Partnerships, SDG&E


Please join us and register online by March 14  for the March 16 event at: For more information call 619-518-3178.

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