Online Updates: August 2010 Online Update

  August 2010 Online Update
Research for People and the Planet  
In This Issue
-Water Bond Report
-Climate Planning
-Human Right to Water

-Oakland Army Base Redevelopment
-Cooley Named Co-director
-Gordon Joins Board

Share Us With a Friend!
Check Water by Numbers, Peter Gleick’s San Francisco Chronicle blog.The California Water Bond: what does Proposition 18 really say and do?,8/3/2010And during the wet years they lost all memory of the dry years, 7/11/2010


Try WECalc – Your Home Water-Energy-Climate Calculator

WECalcWater and energy are closely connected — saving water saves energy and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. To better understand these potential savings, the Pacific Institute developed WECalc – Your Home Water, Energy, Climate Calculator, at An easy-to-use online calculator, WECalc evaluates the energy and greenhouse gas burden associated with water use — and identifies strategies to reduce that burden. It asks a series of questions about your home water use habits, and based on your replies, estimates your water use and provides specific recommendations for reducing it.

“We designed WECalc so individuals can see that they have real options for saving water and energy,” said Matthew Heberger, one of the creators of WECalc. “It empowers people to make smart and cost-effective decisions.”

Pacific Institute researchers Heberger, Heather Cooley, Lucy Allen, and Peter Gleick created WECalc, work made possible with support from the Argosy Foundation.

Read more.

Try WECalc!

Send your Facebook friends to WECalc.

Pacific Institute Report Offers Principles for a Responsible California Water Bond and Analyzes Proposition 18

California Water Bond AnalysisThe Pacific Institute has released an independent analysis of the finance and governance implications of the proposed $11.14 billion California water bond, Proposition 18, the largest water bond in 50 years. The 2010 California Water Bond: What Does It Say and Do? highlights the bond’s real costs and benefits, and three “Need to Know” information sheets examine the bond’s fiscal impacts, compare it to past bonds, and assess whether it helps those who need it most.

“The Legislature will soon decide whether this bill will stay on the ballot or be postponed, amended, or pulled altogether,” said Juliet Christian-Smith, lead author of the report. “We completed a detailed analysis because all of us — legislators and voters alike — need to know exactly how this bond proposes to address many of California’s water challenges, how it allocates funds, and how it would impact the state budget.”

The Institute’s report offers principles for a responsible water bond to guide such amendment. “It is important that any new water bond ensures that publicly funded projects provide real public benefits, that the needs of the most vulnerable stakeholders are prioritized, and that water resource management strategies are compared in terms of their economic, social, and environmental costs,” said Eli Moore, co-director of the Institute’s Community Strategies Program.

Read more.


Community Strategies Ramps Up Climate Planning and Land Use Works

Those Bay Area communities that are disproportionately impacted by air pollution generated by diesel trucks, trains, and ships also tend to be among those most at risk and vulnerable to the impacts of climate change caused in part by that pollution. To tackle this sobering “double whammy,” the Community Strategies for Sustainability and Justice Program (CSSJ) is building upon its longstanding work on air quality issues by ramping up its involvement in local and regional climate planning efforts. Climate planning efforts mandated under California law (SB 375) represent a key opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and related climate impacts by requiring better coordination among regional agencies that manage land use, housing, and transportation decision-making. However, the exclusion of emissions from heavy-duty trucks and major diesel sources such as area ports may make these efforts less effective in addressing health impacts in those communities that stand to be most affected. The CSSJ Program is working with community and coalition partners to identify research priorities that could inform their engagement in climate planning efforts underway region-wide in the Bay Area and within individual cities like Oakland.

For more information, contact Catalina Garzon.

The Human Right to Water and Sanitation

The Pacific Institute joins the world community in celebrating a critical milestone: on July 26, the United Nations General Assembly voted, for the first time, to adopt a resolution recognizing the human right to drinking water and sanitation. Pacific Institute President Peter Gleick, whose work has helped define and champion the human right to water, wrote over a decade ago in the journal Water Policy:
“Access to a basic water requirement is a fundamental human right implicitly and explicitly supported by international law, declarations, and State practice. Governments, international aid agencies, non-governmental organizations, and local communities should work to provide all humans with a basic water requirement and to guarantee that water as a human right. By acknowledging a human right to water and expressing the willingness to meet this right for those currently deprived of it, the water community would have a useful tool for addressing one of the most fundamental failures of 20th century development.”Dr. Gleick wrote an article on the Huffington Poston the historic vote and the U.S.’s abstention.Read more about the human right to water.
Action Research to Support Community-Driven Redevelopment of the Oakland Army Base

The redevelopment of the Oakland Army Base, now in the hands of the City and Port of Oakland, presents an historic opportunity to advance community health, economic justice, and environmental sustainability. A landmass equal to the size of 200 football fields, the Oakland Army Base will be one of the biggest redevelopment projects in Oakland to date. Intended for industrial use, the former Army Base has the potential of generating thousands of jobs for the city of Oakland and accommodating industrial businesses that are currently inappropriately located in residential neighborhoods. The Community Strategies for Sustainability Justice Program and the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project have teamed up to perform research that supports the call for community-driven redevelopment of the base. With this vision, the use of the base will not only provide local living wage jobs but will also improve community health in Oakland by reducing truck traffic, accommodating green businesses, and ensuring that clean-up and construction on the base are safe and healthy.For more information, contact Eli Moore.

Cooley Named Co-director of Water Program

Heather CooleyHeather Cooley, who has been senior research associate in the Pacific Institute’s Water Program for six years, has been named the program’s new co-director. She will share director responsibilities with Institute President Peter Gleick.

“Heather’s expertise and vision for sustainable water management has been the backbone of much of our work in the Water Program,” said Gleick. “She is a leader in the water world, and I am delighted to recognize her talents and skills here at the Institute.”

Ms. Cooley’s research addresses the connections between water and energy, sustainable water use and management, and the hydrologic impacts of climate change. Among her many projects, she is a lead author of Pacific Institute research on water, energy, and greenhouse gas emissions; urban and agricultural water use and conservation; impacts of sea-level rise; and desalination (a report that has been downloaded more than 400,000 times). She has testified before Congress on climate change impacts on agriculture, extreme weather and water resources, and on water conservation and efficiency, and she serves on the Steering Committee of California Urban Water Conservation Council.


West Oakland Community Advocate Joins Pacific Institute Board
Margaret Gordon
The Pacific Institute is honored to have Margaret Gordon join the Board of Directors, contributing expertise from her longstanding leadership on environmental health and justice issues. Ms. Gordon is the co-founder and co-director of the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project (WOEIP). For more than a decade, she has tirelessly devoted herself to improving the health and well-being of residents of Oakland and the Bay Area. Her numerous collaborative efforts have resulted in safer and more sustainable neighborhoods.”One of Margaret’s unique assets is her ability to catalyze and sustain collaborative approaches to improving community environments and health,” said Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute. “Her expertise and commitment are welcome additions to our Board.”From the 1990s, when she served as co-chair of the Community Advisory for Cypress Freeway, through work with the West Oakland Asthma Coalition, the Prescott-Joseph Center for Community Enhancement, Project Choice, the Ditching Dirty Diesel Coalition, and more, Margaret Gordon has been a powerhouse. In 2005, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed her to the Cabinet Level Goods Movement Working Group. In 2007, she became an at-large member of the California Air Resources Board’s Environmental Justice Advisory Committee and she co-chairs the planning process for the Port of Oakland Maritime Air Quality Improvement Plan. She is a Commissioner of the Port of Oakland, and in 2008 was elected 2nd Vice President of the Board of Commissioners.In 2006, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognized WOEIP for its “work to improve local air quality.” In 2007, Gordon was inducted into the Alameda County Women’s Hall of Fame for her leadership on behalf of West Oakland’s residents.

In Brief

-Dr. Juliet Christian-Smith,
senior research associate, was invited to be a member of the Agricultural Stakeholder Committee to help the California Department of Water Resources implement provisions of the Water Conservation Act of 2009 (Senate Bill x7-7). The work of the committee will involve developing a methodology for quantifying the efficiency of agricultural water use, determining compliance with water measurement requirements, and updating agricultural Efficient Water Management Practices.

-Heather Cooley, co-director of the Water Program, participated in an intense design and planning session on July 27 in Santa Monica, hosted by the Natural Resources Defense Council, to discuss a new approach for promoting water conservation and efficiency within the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s service area. On July 28, she participated in a meeting for the Urban Stakeholder Committee in Sacramento to provide input on the methods required to implement California’s landmark legislation to reduce urban per capita demand by 20% by 2020 (known as SBx7-7).

-Dr. Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute, was featured on National Public Radio Station KQED’s program Forum with Michael Krasny on July 7 discussing his new book Bottled and Sold: The Story Behind Our Obsession with Bottled Water and the story of the bottled water industry. You can listen online. Also in July, Dr. Gleick delivered the keynote speech, “A Vision for Clean Water in the 21st Century and Beyond,” at the National Association of Water Agencies (NACWA) Summer Conference and 40th Annual Meeting in San Francisco.