From Factoid Friday to breaking news on quality of life and sustainability issues in the region, our blog shines a spotlight on critical issues in the San Diego region and simple ways you can help to solve them.
The Equinox Center released
the fourth report
of its H2Overview Project, a series onSan Diego County’s critical water
supply issues. Extended droughts, a growing
population, crumbling infrastructure and the threat of earthquakes, legal
disputes and concerns about threatened species have put San Diego County’s
water supplies at risk, and resulted in escalating water prices. In this context, the
study reveals that, while not without challenges, desalination could be a high-quality,
drought-proof water source to add to the region’s water supply.
The Equinox Center report comes on the heels of an
announcement this week by California Department of Water Resources officials
that San Diego County and other urban areas will receive 50% of their requested
water allocation from the State Water Project, which brings water to the region
from Northern California. Last week,
water managers in the southwest met to discuss the historically low levels of
water in Lake Mead, a large reservoir on the Colorado River which also supplies
water to the San Diego region.
On November 9, the San Diego City Council voted 7-0 to make
level restrictions permanent. While the Council can lift these
restrictions at any point in time they deem appropriate, the Council’s action
sends a strong signal to water users that our future includes efforts to permanently
reduce our water demand.
This week is
RideShare Week, an annual campaign designed to increase awareness about the
benefits of using transportation options such as carpooling, vanpooling, riding
the bus, bicycling, walking, and telecommuting. Commuters are asked to use a more
sustainable form of transportation at least one day during Rideshare Week in
order to help relieve our congested streets and highways, improve air quality,
and save energy resources and commute costs.
Equinox Center research shows that in San
Diego 75% of commuters drive to work
alone. The most recent data available shows that
collectively, people in our region drive about 60 million miles each day!
This leads to San Diego having one of the highest congestion rankings in the country, according to the Texas
Transportation Institute, a national transportation think tank. San
Diegans spend 52 hours per year in traffic delays, which is 17 hours more
annually than residents of other cities our size. In fact, in numbers of hours of delay per
year per traveler, we beat out NYC!
A recent study by the San Diego Foundation is relevant to our previous post on AB32. Having this on-the-ground data that uncovers the values and beliefs of San Diegans is an important step in helping our region to define and move forward on climate goals. Below is a link to the Union Tribune article covering the study.
The Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB32),
the state of California to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990
2020. In the 4 years since then, the California Air Resources Board
other state agencies have created a
scoping plan which sets out the measures we will need to take to meet
state’s climate goals.
In the meantime,
evidence is mounting that if we don’t act quickly enough, climate change
have serious impacts on the nation, the state, and the San Diego
region. The San
Diego Foundation’s report “Climate
Related Impacts in the San Diego Region by 2050” points out that
changing precipitation patterns, and a rising sea level will create new
or exacerbate existing stresses on our infrastructure and quality of
life. According to the report, the key issues for
San Diego County include potential flooding of low‐lying coastal areas
due to sea level rise, water
shortfalls, increased peak energy demands due to higher temperatures,
more risk of devastating wildfires, and public
health issues associated with extreme temperature events.
This past Saturday, August 21, 2010 was deemed "Earth
Overshoot Day" by the Global
Footprint Network, a group that measures human impact on the Earth.
The group claims that this year, it has taken humanity less than nine months to exhaust
its ecological budget for the year. Locally, Equinox Center data shows
there is reason to be concerned about this issue, but also indicates some
metrics are moving in the right direction....
The following is an excerpt from a commentary posted by Aaron Contorer, Equinox Center founder and board chair, in the Voice of San Diego.
Recently I heard a California water expert call for a "local
water movement." He likened this potential new trend to the "local
food" movement which offers an alternative to the large scale
corporate food industry. How many of us now look for "locally
grown" produce at our grocery stores, or buy a weekly supply of
fruits and veggies from the farmer's market or farm stand in our
New programs to encourage homeowners and businesses to make
energy efficiency improvements and invest in alternative energy
originally slated to be rolled out in our region this summer, looks like
be facing some potential hurdles. The
program, commonly referred to as PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) allows local governments to offer fixed rate loans
eligible residential and commercial property owners to offset upfront
installation costs of sustainable energy devices such as solar panels.
legislation also allows property owners to repay their loans over 20
through their property tax bills.