As California moves forward with its first-ever statewide mandatory water reductions, industry is taking a leading role in advocating for conservation.
Of course, it’s not purely altruistic. The ongoing California drought and new water regulations will undoubtedly boost sales of water saving technologies like those provided by Xylem, which earlier this month called increased investment in drought-mitigation technologies.
“The good news is that the technology exists,” said Keel Robinson, North America marketing and business development manager for Xylem. “Technologies for water reuse, water recycling and energy efficiency in water operations all are solutions that build resiliency in water systems. It is now a question of commitment, investment and action by both the public and private sectors.”
California is at the epicenter of desalination activity, according to a report form the McIlvaine Company, which forecasts the market for desalination components will top $5 billion in 2015. Along that state’s coast, 17 plants have been proposed to convert saltwater from the ocean or bays.
In addition to the water technology sector, other industries are supporting the state’s water reduction efforts.
Plumbing Manufacturers International earlier this week announced its support of Gov. Jerry Brown’s call for a statewide rebate program encouraging the purchase of water-efficient plumbing products, such as toilets, showerheads and faucets, to replace older ones. PMI estimates that WaterSense products can save up to 360 million gallons of water per day in California alone.
The mandatory water reductions will require cities and towns across California to reduce water usage by 25 percent. This savings amounts to about 1.5 million acre-feet of water over the next nine months.
To save more water, the governor’s executive order will also:
- Replace 50 million square feet of lawns throughout the state with drought tolerant landscaping in partnership with local governments;
- Direct the creation of a temporary, statewide consumer rebate program to replace old appliances with more water and energy efficient models;
- Require campuses, golf courses, cemeteries and other large landscapes to make significant cuts in water use; and
- Prohibit new homes and developments from irrigating with potable water unless water-efficient drip irrigation systems are used, and ban watering of ornamental grass on public street medians.
Takeaway: California’s mandatory water reductions will require business across the state to implement better water management practices. The new rules also present a business opportunity for firms that develop smart water systems as well as water saving and recycling technologies.
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