Sustainable Silicon Valley has long championed innovative approaches to water use & reuse along with regional governmental cooperation and smart, sustainable efforts to ensure a clean and plentiful Bay Area water supply. The proposed agreement between Valley Water, the City of Mountain View and the City of Palo Alto checks a lot of these boxes. It is multi-faceted, forward-thinking, long-term (up to 63 years) and truly win-win-win for all involved. The Palo Alto and Mountain View Councils are scheduled to vote to approve the final term sheet next week with Valley Water’s Board following up early next month. SSV urges them all to move ahead and get to work!
We need sensible investment in a reliable, localized recycled water infrastructure for a number of beneficial reasons. Specifically, a “local plant” treating the salinity levels in the Palo Alto Regional Water Quality Control Plant output will utilize a valuable resource, tertiary-treated wastewater, allowing for much greater recycled water use than the 4% that currently irrigates municipal golf courses. Any improvement in this modest number directly reduces treated wastewater discharge to the Bay. Ultimately, increased water reuse, whether non-potable, indirect potable, or even direct potable will reduce draws from the Tuolumne River and the San Joaquin-Sacramento Bay Delta. (More on the goings on with the State Water Board’s Bay-Delta Plan in a later post).
Across the Bay Area, we share the uneasy sense of living in increasingly interesting times. We breath the smoke from an ever-lengthening fire season, we see the flood effects of rising Bay tides and we experience increasingly shorter, more intense and disruptive rainy seasons. The test before us all is how well we adapt, as a civil society, to the challenges of our rapidly changing world.
Among other impacts, a warming climate places greater stress upon our water resources as demand grows and traditional sources of supply become less reliable. When dependability of mountain snowpack yields to the prospect of snow droughts, resilient, forward-thinking cities need a thoughtful, sustainable plan. Valley Water, Palo Alto and Mountain View are on the verge of sealing such an agreement.
If you would like to chime in, you can email all concerned:
11/18 Council Meeting
Mountain View https://www.mountainview.gov/council/default.asp
11/18 Council Meeting
12/10 Board Meeting