Now that California’s drought is officially over after seven years, it doesn’t mean we should breathe easier. It means we need to continue to champion and find solutions to the world’s water crisis. Two advocates from the SFPUC are doing just that.
This week Paula Kehoe, Director for Water Resources, and Taylor Chang, a Water Resources Analyst, received the Recycled Water Advocates of the Year award for their advocacy and leadership efforts by one of the nation’s leading industry trade organizations, WateReuse California.
The Recycled Water Advocate award “honors an individual, interagency coalition, or private group who has made a significant contribution to the advancement of water recycling through the active support and promotion of recycled water on a local, regional, or state level.”
Kehoe and Chang are key members of the SFPUC’s Water Resources Division, which strives to develop new high-quality local water sources and diversify water supplies—critical innovations that are necessary during the current the era of climate change uncertainty. Using local water sources reduces the vulnerability that comes from being heavily dependent on distant reservoirs, while at the same time keeping the agency’s commitment to protect and preserve our watersheds.
In addition to receiving the WateReuse award, Kehoe was honored as a Water Champion during the Bay Area Water Reuse and Conservation Awards (BAWCRA) ceremony on Thursday. The awards recognize organizations, agencies, businesses and individuals whose programs and leadership advance water conservation and reuse in the Bay Area.
The Water Champion award is delivered to a “a private or public individual whose conservation efforts inspire you and others to use water more wisely. A Water Champion could be your local legislator, your child’s science teacher, the manager of a local nursery, a person who facilitates climate-appropriate landscaping, or someone else whose passion you admire.”
Over the past several years, the SFPUC has restructured its resources and priorities to specifically focus on sustainable water management policies. In December, the agency released its annual Water Resources Division report, which detailed how agency efforts will result in savings of more than 500 million gallons of water over the next 30 years.
The report highlighted the following SFPUC accomplishments:
- Conservation assistance programs and public education efforts that have led to San Francisco residents using 42 gallons of water per person, per day, one of the lowest consumption rates in California.
- Construction of a recycled water plant that will be used irrigate more than 1,000 acres of green space, including the Golden Gate Park, Lincoln Park and Presidio golf courses.
- Construction of four groundwater wells to draw water from San Francisco’s Westside Basin.
- Continued management of the City’s pioneering Non-potable Water Program, which requires all new developments over 250,000 square feet to treat water onsite to meet irrigation and toilet flushing demands, helping to reduce potable water usage.
WateReuse is the only trade association that focuses solely on advancing laws, policy and funding to increase water reuse. The organization hosted its three-day annual awards ceremony from March 18 – 21. The BAWCRA ceremony, which takes place today, raises awareness and celebrates outstanding achievements in water conservation and reuse through best practices, efficiency, and innovation.