The water industry changed significantly in 2015. It marked the beginning of an era and a time where history will have little bearing on our water future. From the lowest California snowpack in history to the States’ first mandatory conservation program, future water supplies are becoming less certain. NASA released a report stating 2015 was the earth’s hottest year on record, a clear sign we are starting to see the impacts of a changing climate.
What does all of this mean for our water customers and West Basin? It means conservation is not a temporary fix but will remain a staple in our everyday lives. The State just extended mandatory conservation requirements, and although surveys tell us that people feel like they have saved all the water they can, there is still more that can be done to be more water efficient. West Basin’s conservation program continues to grow with our free rain barrel distribution, gray water workshops, and native plant gardening classes.
Like residents, West Basin is doing its part as a water provider to find new, drought-proof supplies and is committed to future water reliability. To support that commitment, the District will double its recycling and conservation programs and is responsibly exploring ocean water desalination to add to our diverse water portfolio. Ocean water desalination is growing in California. There are five new desalination projects under way or completed.
West Basin released its Notice of Preparation for an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for a possible 20 million gallons per day ocean water desalination plant. The EIR process will help us gather the information needed to make an informed decision on whether turning ocean water into drinking water should be part of our new water supplies.
As water users and water providers we must respond to this future with efficiency, an open mind and creative solutions. I look forward to providing the best leadership for us all to work together during this critical time.