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David L. Feldman Professor and chair, Department of Planning, Policy and Design, School of Social Ecology University of California, Irvine Urban Water.

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Presentation on theme: "David L. Feldman Professor and chair, Department of Planning, Policy and Design, School of Social Ecology University of California, Irvine Urban Water."— Presentation transcript:

1 David L. Feldman Professor and chair, Department of Planning, Policy and Design, School of Social Ecology University of California, Irvine Urban Water Institute Spring water conference Palm Springs, CA February 19, 2014

2 Overview California is an archetype of global water challenges – supply stress, growing demands, acceptability of supply & demand innovations. Researchers study economic, social, and built-environment (i.e., urban planning) concerns – as well as technical feasibility of innovations, e.g., Perceived and actual risks Public trust and confidence Inclusiveness of decisions regarding how alternatives are implemented

3 Water demands have grown six-fold in the 20 th Century twice as fast as population. Source: UN- FAO AQUASTAT database, 2012 A global perspective on the challenges

4 A precarious future – Colorado River U.S. BuRec (2012)

5 Climate & population – a California perspective States population may increase 50% by 2025 (1995 base). Urban water demands may increase 50-60%. Most growth in hotter inland counties – with high evapo- transpiration rates, exacerbated by climate change.

6 Urban water challenges – are there alternatives? Most of Los Angeles water supply is imported: Three major sources have limited future capacity. The fourth – recycled water use – could increase – if public concerns could be alleviated.

7 Likely future Source: California Water Plan Update, (CA DWR) Options and their potential

8 UCI NSF-PIRE project UC Irvine NSF-PIRE project ($4.8M ) in partnership with University of Melbourne and Monash University, Australia 8 Seeks to identify low-energy methods of turning wastewater into drinking water in response to climate change, drought, population growth. Considerations include feasibility, economics, public acceptability, urban design

9 Why Australia? Lessons for California Worlds driest inhabited continent. 90% of 23 million inhabitants live in cities. Millennium Drought gravely affected SE region: Reservoirs fell to 26% capacity, bush fires erupted. Affected public attitudes toward climate change, drought, water conservation.

10 Stormwater challenges – Australia & California Port Phillip Bay, Melbourne, Victoria – endpoint for stormwater discharges. Los Angeles River outflow, Long Beach – endpoint for stormwater discharges. Bayside beaches litter source control, Melbourne, Victoria. Litter source control, Los Angeles region Feldman, D. (2013). Governance of urban stormwater in Australia & Southern California, California Stormwater Quality Association, November.

11 Traditional responses to urban stormwater Flooding – Arroyo Seco (1913) Flood of 1941

12 A tale of two cities – stormwater innovation Melbourne and Victoria (AU) encourage stormwater harvesting through – Rainwater tanks connected to roofs to provide water for gardens, toilet flushing, clothes washing. Underground stormwater storage as part of on-site retention/ detention – incentives given to developers and home owners to store and recycle stormwater by providing rebates on current water and sewer charges. Local governments encourage use of reclaimed stormwater – development consents can require stormwater storage for toilets, gardens, washing cars. Constructed stormwater treatment wetland

13 … and Los Angeles Pollution & flooding aspects of stormwater huge challenge – Los Angeles City Council passed Low Impact Development (LID) Ordinance: Established by city in collaboration with communities, NGOs, business groups, building industry. Redevelopment projects mitigate runoff by capturing rainwater at its source; utilizes rain barrels, permeable pavement, rainwater storage tanks, infiltration swales or curb bump-outs to contain water. Other benefits include water conservation, groundwater recharge and greening neighborhoods.

14 Optimizing choices, fostering trust What the public and local officials came up with! Public outreach to encourage household conservation – using water bills to show savings. Substitute low-quality treated water for non- potable needs. Capture storm-water runoff before contaminated by landscape. Reclaim wastewater. Create and sustain a culture of community engagement & innovation. Assessment? Public engagement and consensus energized officials to adopt a wide range of approaches to augment water supplies/improve drinking water productivity.

15 EXAMPLES OF URBAN ADAPTATION MEASURES: substitution (A), regeneration (B), reduction (C) at household scale. Substitution includes watering garden with rainwater from a tank; flushing toilets and washing laundry with treated storm-water effluent from a biofilter. For regeneration, a waste stabilization pond (WSP) transforms household sewage into high-quality water for irrigating an orchard. Reduction includes repairing leaks in distribution system, drip irrigation, dual-flush toilet, low-flow shower rose, front-loading clothes washer. Other infrastructure shown includes conventional drinking water plant (DWTP); conventional wastewater treatment plant (WWTP); river diversion (supplying the orchard). From: Grant, S. B., Saphores, J. D., Feldman, D. L. (2012). Taking the waste out of wastewater for human water security and ecosystem sustainability. Science, 337, Putting it together – low-energy options to substitute, regenerate, reduce water use

16 Burden of impact Characterization of hazard Nature of conflictExamples of disputes Traditional notion of environmental justice & water Risk of water quality/quantity potentially high- consequence; fall on poor, women, minorities Threats to human health/well-being - environmental pollutants/toxic wastes, reduced in-stream flow; remediation Acute, short term impacts; high- intensity social protest; violent demonstrations Dam-building, inter-basin diversion; massive pollution spills (e.g., Owens Valley; Hinckley, CA) Newer idiom of environmental justice & water Risk of water problems potentially high consequence/high uncertainty; e.g., climate change Broader welfare issues at stake - cost, affordability, access, actions to address/repair legacy important Lower-intensity; social protest may occur, but problems viewed as long-term & chronic Waste-water re-use; desalination; involuntary conservation measures; privatizing supply Summing up – understanding public concerns Feldman, David Integrated Water Management and Environmental Justice - Public Acceptability and Fairness in Adopting Water Innovations, Water Science and Technology 11 (2):

17 Technical feasibility – does the science and engineering support its application? Economic cost – is it affordable relative to most likely alternatives, and who will pay? Environmental impact – what adverse effects could it generate? Public acceptability – how will public perceive benefits, risks, fairness? What makes an innovation likely to be adopted?

18 Innovation as thinking outside the box


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