ima Seminar on California’s Water Future

As the Earth’s most precious resource, water is a driving factor in ima’s development services for every project. We consider practical water conserving solutions in every decision. Advancing our commitment to smart water practices, ima connected with the Vice President of the Board of Directors for the Irvine Ranch Water District to develop a summary of the top water supply issues facing California.

In California, our natural resources reality is changing faster than our water management system. For decades, California’s water infrastructure has been the envy of the world. Now, none of the system works the way it did when it was new with an increasing population, an aging infrastructure, and degraded ecosystem:

• State Water project was built to serve 16 million people, California has 38 million today
• California has severely over-drafted groundwater basins in the Central Valley (128 MAF)
• We have a chronic underinvestment in water infrastructure

This complex issue is further exacerbated by divided groups. In California this means 1,600 water districts, and 12 regulatory agencies compared to the Energy hierarchy of three districts and two agencies. Furthermore, California’s Business Community is largely un-engaged in the problem; developers and businesses must take a more active role in the future of water management or suffer the consequences. They need to participate in issues like strongly supporting Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP), in order to change the dynamics of water planning.

What do we do about it? We need to:
• Fix the Delta (but that’s not enough)
• Integrate Water Management Plans
• Utilize more groundwater storage
• Implement greater urban Water Use Efficiency (WUE)
• Implement greater agricultural WUE
• Price water like the valuable natural resource it is

Water Use in New Development:
• We have plenty of water to meet new development needs if we’re smart about it
• Must support state and local water infrastructure investments, BDCP, tunnels
• Incorporate more climate appropriate, native landscaping (greatest WUE opportunity)
• Educate customers about value of water and create a cultural Conservation Ethic
• Support water reuse (recycled water, IPR, DPR, desalination)

Working with experts like Steve Lamar and others, ima is continuing to innovate practical water saving solutions that conserve and reuse water while at the same time, provide intrinsic monetary, aesthetic, and environmental value to the developments and projects.