Mudflats in Paradise

Nov. 1, 2013

Weather-wise, this past weekend was another perfect one here in Santa Barbara, and so we headed up to the north part of the county to taste a few of the great Pinot noirs that the area has become well known for. It’s just a 35-minute drive, and the road goes right by the primary source of drinking water in these parts, Lake Cachuma.

Or what’s left of it. As expected, the water level over the past few dry months has dropped dramatically, and it’s impossible to view it and not be concerned. Like so many areas of the country, we haven’t had any significant precipitation in several months, and last winter (and the winter before that) was pretty bleak as well. We all like nice warm weather–it’s nearly 80 degrees outside right now, and there’s nary a cloud in the 10-day forecast, which is not unusual for this part of the country at this time of year–but if the skies don’t open up in a big way over the next several months, many of us will be wondering at what point it’s OK to start referring to the lake as a puddle.

The issue you’re looking at is the 48th edition of Water Efficiency (yes, I counted). We began publishing back in August 2006, and there’s a lot to dig into here:

In his monitoring power use story, Matt M. Casey looks at the significant savings in money, water, and power that your utility can achieve with relatively modest investments in upgraded motors and pumps, and instituting new efficiency regimes. A few inefficient or broken pumps can make a big difference in the amount of energy you’re using, and an investment there trickles down to help the bottom line fast.

In “The New Frontier”, David Engle does a great job exploring some of the many benefits that come from AMR and AMI, and shows how different customers are already turning the new streams of information they’re receiving into increased customer and shareholder satisfaction, and very real reductions in water and power consumption as well as revenue benefits.

Also in this issue, contributing editor Lyn Corum takes a sobering look at “Commercial Demand Management” and very different challenges that resource planners and water purveyors in different regions of the country are faced with.

Carol Brzozowski does her normal terrific job in “Alternative Water Sources“. As we delve deeper into this era of relative water scarcity, the regulatory environment needs to evolve to keep all possible options open. Relying exclusively on our sources from the past may quickly land us in hot water (sorry), and approaches that were formerly ruled out or discarded might very well be viable going forward.

Troutdale, Oregon’s recent experiences with GIS in managing its assets & infrastructure are examined by Larry Trojak’s “Small Oregon City Makes Huge GIS Strides“. In addition to its value as a simple inventory tool, their implementation has enabled a historic view of many municipal assets and allowed for a more proactive approach and streamlined troubleshooting, minimizing subsequent breakdowns, equipment failures, and their associated excessive costs.

Amber Lefstead tells us about the winners of this year’s WaterSense Partners of the Year, and the work they’ve been doing is tremendous. Check out this article—saving nearly 500 billion gallons and $9 billion dollars is more than a drop in the bucket.

There’s a lot more.

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, a very big thanks is in order here. To you, dear reader–the work you are doing is important and not acknowledged nearly enough–thank you. You’re on the front lines, and we are grateful for your commitment. We also very much value your input; please keep it coming and keep us on our toes. To our advertisers–thank you for helping us to keep the doors open and the lights on. Your focus on enabling and improving water efficiency is what enables us to deliver this publication to our readers everywhere, either in print or in pixels. And the biggest thanks of all to the terrific staff right here at Forester–it’s been a great year, and I am so grateful for your wonderful work and dedication.

Happy Holidays to you all, and good reading!

Dan Waldman Publisher 
About the Author

Daniel Waldman

Daniel Waldman is the former Publisher of Forester Media, Inc.

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