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Technologies

A wide variety of technology solutions are available today that can quickly put the State on a path to drought resilience. Retrofits or expansions of municipal water and wastewater infrastructure typically require multiple years to plan, finance, design and construct. On the other hand, many customer-side water-efficient technologies can be implemented within a fraction of the time and cost because they are much smaller in scale and complexity, and often do not require long lead time (multi-year) environmental permits.

  • Agricultural Water Use Efficiency

    Excluding water used for environmental purposes, agricultural uses during “normal” (historical average) hydrology years account for about 45% of all water used within the State.

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  • Indoor Water Use Efficiency

    California has some of the most aggressive codes and standards for water efficient plumbing fixtures and appliances in the nation.

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  • Commercial and Industrial Water Use Efficiency

    Statewide commercial and industrial water use during water year 2002, a “normal” hydrology year, was 1,700 TAF, 13.2% of total urban water demand.

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  • Outdoor Urban Water Use Efficiency

    The most significant opportunity to reduce use of potable water for nonpotable purposes in the urban sector is landscape irrigation: 44% of all urban water is used outdoors, primarily for landscape irrigation.

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Examples of Distributed (Customer-Side) Water Resource Solutions

Technology Solutions Sector
Residential Commercial Industrial Agricultural
On-Site Recycle/Reuse of Stormwater, Wastewater, Greywater, Process water, Irrigation Runoff Stormwater & Greywater Process Water Process Water
Efficient Plumbing Fixtures Toilets, Faucets, Aerators, Showerheads Drip & Other Types of Water-Efficient Irrigation Systems
Water & Energy Management Systems “Smart” Meters with Climate or Weather-Based Controllers

 

Given the much shorter lead time to implement and the potential to substantially increase beneficial use of existing water supplies, these types of customer-side strategies are critical in addressing drought issues.

To facilitate matching to potential applications, candidate technology goals are organized by type of technology solution.

Types of Drought Resilient Technology Solutions

Technology Solution Technology Goal
Water Use Efficiency Reduce Quantity of Water Needed to “Do the Same Work”
Reduce Use of Potable Water for Non-Potable Uses Reduce Use of Potable Water for Non-Potable Purposes
Increase Local Water Supplies “Make” Additional Water Supplies by Treating Otherwise Unusable Water Resources to Levels Suitable for Beneficial Use/Reuse
Water Management Tools Provide Monitoring and Analytical Tools for Enhanced Decision-making about Water Use

 

The drought resilient solutions described herein were identified with the assistance of both technology developers and technology adopters (water users). Recommended technology solutions listed in Table 3 are described below, along with examples of some candidate technologies that appear to offer substantial benefits for the County and its constituents.

Like energy, the lowest cost and fastest approach to addressing water supply challenges is often to reduce consumption through a combination of conservation and efficiency.

one@2x
Conservation

implies conscious behavioral changes by water users, such as choosing to take shorter showers.

two@2x
Efficiency

typically requires some type of hardware change to achieve permanent reductions in water use.

This project focused on identifying hardware solutions that could be implemented by water users in Tulare County to advance drought resilience by reducing their water consumption. Table 4 groups candidate technology solutions by sector and type of application.

Drought Resilient Technology Solutions by Sector

Sector(s) Types of Technology Applications
Agricultural Increase Crop Yield per Unit of Water Applied
Commercial and Industrial Waterless and/or Water-Efficient Cleaning Equipment and Facilities
Residential, Commercial and Institutional Indoor: Above Code Plumbing Fixtures and Water Efficient Appliances
Outdoor: Efficient Landscape Irrigation

 

Recycled water opportunities were also considered for each sector.