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  • Archive for April 17th, 2015

    Apr 17

    GOVERNOR MEETS WITH BUSINESS LEADERS ABOUT WATER DROUGHT

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    Yesterday Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. convened officials representing a broad array of leaders that impact water usage at non-residential properties, including landscape, golf, home and garden, spa and pool, cemetery and mortuary, building and manufacturing, retail, restaurant and hospitality industries.  Rex Hime, President and CEO of California Business Properties Associations, was included and represented the commercial, industrial, and retail real estate industry.

    The Governor set the stage for the discussion by noting, “The key challenge here – aside from getting the water – is to be able to collaborate together.  We’re going to rise to the occasion as Californians first and as members of different groups second.”

    The meeting was meant to address the state’s first ever 25 percent statewide mandatory water reductions and a series of actions initiated by the state to help conserve water

    Hime made it clear that our industry believes that water conservation is not just good public policy but it makes good business sense. He pointed out that numerous internal and external changes have already been done to reduce water needs and that the industry has in some instances already met the reductions sought by the Governor.

    Brown stressed it was going to be important to work with the local water agencies in adopting appropriate policies.

    The Governor’s initial Executive Order includes measures to help: replace lawns with drought tolerant landscaping and old appliances with more water and energy efficient models; cut water use at campuses, golf courses, cemeteries and other large landscapes; prevent potable water irrigation at new developments unless water-efficient drip systems are used; and stop watering of ornamental grass on public street medians.

    Members of the press came into the room at the end of the meeting and asked the Governor and participants questions.

    Click here for the news story about the meeting.

    Apr 17

    DROUGHT ACTIONS

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    There is a lot going on – from regional targets in water reductions to new appliance standards for faucets, showers, and toilets – and there are a lot of source documents and local decisions that will need to be made if you want to assure you are complying with the requirements.

    But more importantly, many of the decisions that will have a direct and immediate impact on your buildings are going to happen at the local level.  We have already seen the water board apportion out reduction targets in recognition that some areas of the state have done more to conserve than others (based on per capita).

    Please work with your local real estate association professionals, coordinate with other owners and managers, and get to know your local water decision makers.  It is incumbent on our industry to help guide good policy through the process.

    CBPA held a water policy briefing with over 40 real estate leaders from commercial real estate, has met with Water Board leaders, Energy Commission staff, and has been coordinating with local real estate groups.  Our industry needs action at all levels to address this crisis head on, and we appreciate the fact that our members are stepping-up and being part of the solution.

    As Rex Hime says, “If you are not at the table, you are on the menu.”

    Apr 17

    MANDATORY 25% WATER REDUCTIONS ANNOUNCED IN CALIFORNIA

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    Let’s start from the top, as we reported two weeks ago, California Governor Jerry Brown announced an Executive Order mandating statewide water restrictions to reduce water usage by 25% over the next nine-months.

    We applaud the Governor for taking action to address the state’s drought.  In past years, on behalf of the commercial, industrial, and retail real estate industry, CBPA has provided input to, and thoroughly reviewed the State’s plans for water efficiency, supported legislation to implement strategic plans, and advocated for more storage and conveyance.  We again stand with the Governor and support his calls for more water savings and have been at several meeting this week to provide input.

    Most of our members have done a great job reducing water usage over the past five years and have set the pace in terms of innovating with gray water and drought tolerant urban landscaping.  This has been acknowledged and appreciated, however, the Governor is asking urban water users to do more, and in the immediate

    In addition to saving water, however, we continue to point out that California’s water system is in great need of improvements.  Our population is expected to grow by more than 600,000 people each year, mushrooming the population to as many as 48 million by 2020; DWR projections show that this growth could increase annual water demands by 6 million acre feet by 2030; and recent studies predict that 25% of the snowpack, which is our largest water storage system, will be lost by 2050.  This last prediction seemed far-fetched several years ago, however the visual of the Governor standing in a meadow with a long pole and no snow has shown the realness of the concern.

    To accommodate for growth as well as these anticipated hydrological changes, California must be prepared to manage our water in a comprehensive, efficient manner.  There are many impediments to doing so, including a tangible shortage of facilities, the lack of effective conveyance, and problems with the Delta.

    Here are the source materials for the Governor’s water conservation mandates – the Executive Order provides the roadmap to where action is going to be taken:

    Governor’s Synopsis of Mandatory Water Reductions

    California Executive Order B-29-15

    These actions follow the enactment of a $1 billion water package signed last week for local drought relief and infrastructure projects to make the state’s water infrastructure more resilient.

    The water shortfall is evident, the disaster is eminent, unless we act to help our state navigate its way out of this crisis.

    Apr 17

    URBAN WATER USE REDUCTION TARGETS 10% – 35%

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    The State Water Resources Control Board issued recommendations for meeting the mandate of cutting water use in the state by 25%, dividing communities into four tiers of water use and assigning a targets – from 10% to 35% – for reductions.  This plan is meant to recognize communities that have a lower per-capita water usage rate with lower targets.

    Of the 400 water agencies in the state, 135 will have to reduce water use by the maximum amount, 35 percent. Eighteen agencies fall in the lowest reduction tier, 10 percent.

    Want to know what your water agency’s target is?

    Click here Urban Water Suppliers and Proposed Regulatory Framework Tiers to Achieve 25% Use Reduction.

    For more context,  Click here for the L.A. Time coverage of the action.

    Apr 17

    LOCAL WATER AGENCIES SAY TARGETS UNFAIR

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    California cities are pushing back against Gov. Jerry Brown’s order for mandatory water use reductions, but it’s not likely that regulators will retreat with the state in its fourth year of drought.  Click here to read the story from the Sacramento Bee.

    Apr 17

    WHO’S TO BLAME FOR CALIFORNIA’S DROUGHT?

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    As noted above, the Governor is trying to move beyond blame and focus on solutions.  However, understanding some of the political context of some of the positioning you will hear is helpful.

    Any local water agency will tell you that the thicket of environmental laws/regulations/mitigations as well as historical water rights and population growth are all combining to exacerbate this current drought. And the fact that no new storage facilities have been built in 30 years, is part of the complexity.

    Through conservation measures, per capita water usage is roughly half of what it was a few decades ago so that is why we have been able to have an increase in population in the state without a corresponding increase in storage supply.

    Statewide, average water use is roughly 50% environmental, 40% agricultural, and 10% urban (residential/commercial/industrial). However, recently those numbers have been messaged to focus on human usage which drops the environmental water usage from the equation and doubles the other numbers.

    The PPIC has a great report on water usage that goes into depth on these numbers.

    And here is a great article that soberly surveys the facts and political landscape of who uses what amount of water.

    Apr 17

    NEW WATER APPLIANCE STANDARDS ADOPTED – 1.28 GALLON TOILETS

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    Taking action based on the directives in the Governor’s Executive Order, this week the California Energy Commission approved standards for water appliances (faucets/urinals/toilets) which they estimate will save more than 10 billion gallons of water in 2016. Over time, they estimate water savings to reach 105 billion gallons per year.

    The energy efficiency and water standards approved this week requires water appliances to consume less water.  Details for each appliance are as follows:

    – Toilets and urinals. Toilets shall not consume more than 1.28 gallons per flush and shall have a waste extraction score of no fewer than 350 grams. Urinals shall not consume more than 0.125 gallons per flush.

    – Residential lavatory faucets shall not exceed 1.2 gallons per minute flow rate.

    – Kitchen faucets shall not exceed 1.8 gallons per minute flow rate and may have capability to increase to 2.2 gallons per minute momentarily for filling pots and pans.

    – Public/commercial lavatory faucets shall not exceed 0.5 gallon per minute flow rate.

    These standards are effective as of January 1, 2016.

    One of our main concerns as an industry was to assure that product would be available to meet the demand of new construction.  Working with the CEC staff and the manufacturing group, we have been assured that there are almost a dozen companies that are currently producing these products.

    Additionally we have an ongoing concern about the impact of low water usage toilets in some older buildings.  In some cases the lower water volume does not work efficiency with lateral lines and plumbing that was built for much higher flows.  If you are doing a retrofit project you must take care to assure that your facilities can indeed handle the lower water flow.

    Click here for a video produced by the CEC explaining the adoption.

    Apr 17

    STATE WATER RESOURCES CONTROL BOARD “DROUGHT PORTAL”

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    The Water Board is trying to keep the public informed with this website that it is calling the “Drought Portal.”  This is a good resource for finding primary documents and directives that are coming out of the various state agencies.  We are expecting draft regulations from the Water Board in the next week or so and will need help reviewing and providing comments.

    Apr 17

    CALIFORNIA WATER PLAN

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    And in case you don’t have enough to read….Here is The California Water Plan.  This document provides a “collaborative planning framework for elected officials, agencies, tribes, water and resource managers, businesses, academia, stakeholders, and the public to develop findings and recommendations and make informed decisions for California’s water future. The plan, updated every five years, presents the status and trends of California’s water-dependent natural resources; water supplies; and agricultural, urban, and environmental water demands for a range of plausible future scenarios.”

    Water Plan Update 2013 Volume 5 is now available online — (04/08/2015)