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Water Agency Achieves Carbon Free Water by 2015

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Water Agency Achieves
Carbon Free Water by 2015

Carbon Free WaterSonoma County Water Agency announced it has achieved the goal of an entirely carbon-free supply of electricity for its water and sanitation systems. Through a combination of constructing its owner power sources and contracting for renewable and carbon free sources – such as hydroelectric, landfill gas, and solar energy – the Water Agency this year will supply 100% of its electricity needs through renewable sources.  View our YouTube video and learn more about our carbon free water program.

The Water Agency’s announcement coincides with the release of a report by the Union of Concerned Scientists that underscores the potential for water utilities to help California adapt to severe drought and battle climate change by investing in renewable energy sources and supplying carbon-free water. 

In 2011, the Water Agency’s Board of Directors adopted the Energy Policy which established the goal of achieving Carbon Free Water by 2015. The goal was reached this year by increased water-use efficiency, water system efficiency and development of renewable energy sources. Ongoing conservation efforts resulted in the Water Agency reducing its total energy use by 27 percent since 2005. “This is a key milestone for Sonoma County as we work to address climate change,” said Board of Supervisor Chair and SCWA Director Susan Gorin

The Water Agency has been instrumental in county wide efforts in response to climate change. It has been a leader in developing renewable power sources and helped form Sonoma Clean Power, the locally controlled electricity provider. “The Water Agency is actively working to secure our future water supply by mitigating the impacts of climate change,” said Grant Davis, General Manager of the Sonoma County Water Agency.

As a member of the Congressional Safe Climate Caucus, Rep. Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) is keenly aware of the need to act on climate change. “We must continue to take bold steps to combat climate change, and the announcement by the Sonoma County Water Agency that it has achieved its goal of Carbon Free Water by 2015 is evidence that these steps are working,” said Rep. Huffman. “Addressing climate change is the greatest imperative of our time. It will require major investments in infrastructure, technology and energy independence. We’re seeing here today that it’s possible to do those things and make our local and national economies stronger and more prosperous.”

California’s water sector accounts for nearly 20 percent of the state’s electricity use. The Union of Concerned Scientists, a non-profit science advocacy group, released a report on April 6, “Clean Energy Opportunities in California’s Water Sector.” The report focuses on opportunities – and barriers – for water and wastewater utilities to invest in renewable sources of electricity. The report is available at www.ucsusa.org/CAwaterenergy.

The state legislature has developed numerous climate change programs, including the Global Warming Solutions Act, which mandates California to reduce global warming emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.  “As the climate changes, so must we. What we’re seeing here today is an example of a water agency’s commitment to climate change mitigation and adaptation,” said State Assembly Member Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg) “By increasing its efficiency, conserving water, and actively pursuing renewable energy resources, the Sonoma County Water Agency has demonstrated that it is possible to have carbon-free water. We think water providers statewide can be partners in a transition to clean energy.”

 

For more information on the Water Agency’s Carbon Free Water by 2015 program, visit www.sonomacountywater.org/carbon-free-water/ or contact Brad Sherwood, at (707) 547-1927 or sherwood@scwa.ca.gov.