Pacific Institute President Testifies on Urban Water Use Efficiency
Dr. Peter Glick testified on strategies for addressing the California drought
Dr. Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute and an expert on freshwater issues, testified on strategies for addressing the California drought to the California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB). Recognizing that the drought is having far-reaching effects that are likely to intensify if dry conditions persist, Gleick offered key recommendations from the Pacific Institute for changes in strategy, policy and approach to expand the efficiency of urban water use in California.
“The magnitude of the current drought has brought California’s water use and management issues into sharper focus,” said Gleick, a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, who has worked on California water issues for more than 30 years. “The drought will have serious consequences for California communities, but it also offers opportunities to address long-standing and unresolved water management issues.”
Gleick offered recommendations from the Pacific Institute to the SWRCB on urban water use and efficiency to help the state deal with the current drought — and with the reality of a drier water future for California with climate change. His recommendations include:
- Establish expanded and accelerated water efficiency targets;
- Implement comprehensive and standardized urban water pricing;
- Accelerate urban water metering;
- Accelerate appliance/water use technology replacement;
- Update water-efficiency standards;
- Adopt a loading order for water that can serve as a guidepost for policies and decisions at local, regional and state levels;
- Increase water efficiency expenditures; and
- Collect more and better water use data.
Gleick offered other policy recommendations as well, including requiring all new loans, grants and permits to be issued only to agencies that include full water use reporting and meet baseline efficiency targets, and requiring storm water retention and treatment for all new development. He also said that the state should conduct a detailed assessment of the quality of water required to meet end uses and the quality of waters available, with a requirement to rapidly expand the use of recycled/treated wastewater, eventually eliminating the discharge of treated wastewater into the ocean.