Monday, February 22, 2010

Santa Clara Valley Aims to Recycle More Water

Expanded use of recycled water on tap for Santa Clara County
Paul Rogers, San Jose Mercury News, February 22, 2009

The Santa Clara Valley Water District (SCVWD) will vote on a plan today to build a new $52 million recycled water facility at the San Jose-Santa Clara Water Pollution Control Plant in Alviso that will convert sewage water to high-quality water, producing up to 8 million gallons a day.

The water will be suitable for a wide variety of industrial and irrigation uses, such as watering golf course greens, or redwood trees, which can be sensitive to recycled water's higher salinity, and pure enough under state health laws to recharge aquifers used for drinking water supplies. But that use is not being considered at today's meeting.

"We're not in a hurry to do it. We want to make sure it's what the community wants. We'd need five to 10 years of study," said Keith Whitman, water supply manager for the SCVWD. "And we'll certainly learn from what Orange County did."

Two years ago, the Orange County Water District opened a $485 million recycled water facility using the same treatment method that the SCVWD is now pursuing. The largest such plant in the world, it turns sewage water into 70 million gallons a day of recycled water that is blended with Orange County's aquifers.

To address public squeamishness, the Orange County agency conducted nine years of public meetings and outreach, and got a long list of medical leaders to endorse the project. Other places, however, like San Diego, have seen such projects stall over public opposition.

Read the complete story here:

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Top Ten List: Sustainable CEOs

Triple Pundit created and published a (non-scientific) survey on their readership's Top Ten Sustainable CEOs.

The list:
  1. Yvon Chouinard, Patagonia (Owner/Founder)
  2. George Siemon, Organic Valley Company
  3. Mick Bremans, Ecover
  4. Jeffrey Hollender (Former CEO), Seventh Generation
  5. Jan Blittersdorf, NRG Systems
  6. BethAnn Lederer, Working Wonders
  7. John Mackey, Whole Foods
  8. Jeff Lebesch and Kim Jordan, New Belgium Brewery
  9. Eric Schmidt, Google
  10. Ray Anderson (Former CEO), Interface Carpet
The results in themselves spark several questions:
Does the perception of sustainability match the reality?
What do the results say about the consumership of the survey respondents?
How did the respondents balance the CEO's positive contributions to people, planet, and prosperity?

California State Parks and Wildlife Conservation Trust Fund Act

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has recently proposed to tie California state parks funding to proceeds from offshore oil drilling. This is a tradeoff that many, including the California State Parks Foundation, find unacceptable.

When a previous gubernatorial budget proposal aimed to eliminate half of state parks’ General Fund in 2009, then take the remaining half in 2010, California faced the likely closure of more than 80% of the entire parks system. Full closures were avoided only because parks users mobilized last summer under California State Parks Foundation's Save Our State Parks campaign.

In a major effort to secure a long-term sustainable funding mechanism, the foundation supports the California State Parks and Wildlife Conservation Trust Fund Act of 2010, which is in circulation to qualify for the November 2010 ballot. This funding, when approved by the voters, will provide a stable, reliable, and adequate funding source for the state park system, for wildlife conservation, and for increased and equitable access to those resources for all.