Online Updates: July 2010 Online Update


  July 2010 Online Update
Research for People and the Planet  
In This Issue
- Water Bond Assessment
- Business and Water Policy
- Reducing Freight Train Diesel Pollution
- Community Strategies Fellows
- Gleick on Good Morning America and Forum
- In Brief
Water by Numbers
Check out the latest posts on Water by Numbers, Peter Gleick’s blog, featured on San Francisco Chronicle’s City Brights.Water Lessons from SingaporeWater and misleading advertising and marketing: where are the FDA and FTC?More on climate deniers and their abuse of science



Pacific Institute Assesses the 2010 California Water Bond

California Water ConveyanceIt is a critical time in California water policy. At the end of 2009, a series of water-related bills were passed by the California Legislature, with the intent of moving the state out of decades of gridlock over water resource management. Shortly thereafter, the Legislature approved an $11.14 billion bond called the “Safe, Clean, and Reliable Drinking Water Supply Act of 2010″ to fund water system upgrades. This is the largest water bond in California’s history, yet the costs and benefits of the bond have not been fully assessed by an independent organization. The Governor recently proposed postponing the bond, but we don’t yet know if it will be pulled off of the November ballot. The Governor recently proposed postponing the bond, but we don’t yet know if the Legislature will take the action required to have it pulled off of the November ballot.

The Pacific Institute’s Water Program and Community Strategies for Sustainability and Justice Program have collaborated on an independent analysis of the 2010 water bond, addressing questions such as:

- What are the water problems that the bond expects to address and how does this bond compare to past water bonds?
- What options are available for funding water system improvements and what effect would this bond have on other critical public services and projects funded by the state?
- How will the bond funds be allocated among different priorities and how will this bond alter water governance structures?
- How are the water needs of disadvantaged communities addressed?

The results of the Institute’s independent analysis of the 2010 water bond are being released in July in several formats, including fact sheets, presentations, and a longer report. Today, a Water Bond Overview PowerPoint presentation is available. Visit the Water Bond page for continuing updates.

Framework for Responsible Business Engagement with Water Policy

Business Engagement   FrameworkAccess to water is an important strategic concern for many companies. Recognizing that business, government, and civil society share a critical interest in reducing water-related risks through common solutions, the UN Global Compact’s CEO Water Mandate has released a Framework for Responsible Business Engagement with Water Policy. The Framework, prepared by the Pacific Institute in collaboration with WWF International, provides a way for companies to address risk, with the bottom line a need for policy that integrates environmentally sustainable, economically viable, and socially equitable water management approaches.

“We have an innovative model for companies to think about managing their business risk by engaging water policy and driving toward sustainable water management,” said Jason Morrison, director of the Pacific Institute’s Globalization Program and technical director of the CEO Water Mandate. “Ultimately, solving water problems requires not only better public policy and stronger institutions, but also inclusive and meaningful stakeholder involvement in decision making.”

The Framework for Responsible Business Engagement with Water Policy broadens the understanding of corporate engagement to involve interaction with government entities, local communities, and/or civil society organizations to achieve responsible internal company management of water resources within direct operations and supply chains, and sustainable and equitable management of the river basins in which companies and their suppliers operate.

Community Strategies Joins Effort to Reduce Diesel Pollution at California Railyards

Trains and Asthma Rates MapAt a June 24 public hearing, Research Fellow Eyal Matalon joined freight transport justice advocates from Southern California to call on the state Air Resources Board (ARB) to protect the health of communities near railyards. ARB is seeking commitments from only four of the 18 major railyards in the state to reduce their emissions beyond existing programs. Currently, none of the railyards from Northern California (including the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe railyard in Richmond and the Union Pacific Railyard in Oakland) are included in these commitments.

Matalon used a series of regional maps developed with the Ditching Dirty Diesel Collaborative to highlight the disproportionate impact of rail infrastructure on low-income communities of color, communities that already exhibit some of the highest rates of asthma hospitalization in the state. Matalon went on to show aerial views of the parks, schools, healthcare facilities, and faith-based institutions near the Richmond and Oakland Railyards. The Air Resource Board approved the proposed commitments for the four Southern California railyards with some additional requirements for monitoring and reporting.

Summer Fellows On Board for Community Strategies Projects

The Community Strategies Program welcomes two summer fellows to its staff this month, Ariana de Leña and Marvin Nettles. Ariana de Leña is designing a Freight Transport Justice Curriculum Guide based on popular education materials that the Community Strategies Program has developed over the years with community groups and coalitions advocating to reduce the health impacts of diesel trucks, trains, and ships. The Guide will be available on the Pacific Institute website this fall. Marvin Nettles is researching innovative case studies, models, and tools for integrating environmental health into Community Benefits Agreements to inform community advocacy on the redevelopment of the former Oakland Army Base.

Peter Gleick Talks about Bottled Water on Good Morning America and KQED Forum

Pacific Institute President Peter Gleick was interviewed by George Stephanopoulos on ABC TV’s Good Morning America on June 30. It’s an interesting conversation about his new book Bottled and Sold: The Story Behind Our Obsession with Bottled Water. You can watch it (and find an excerpt from the book) here.

On Wednesday, July 7, Gleick was featured on National Public Radio station KQED’s Forum program with Michael Krasny, discussing the book and the ins and outs of bottled water. You can listen to it at the KQED website.

The book can be purchased at Amazon or at Island Press.

In Brief 

-Peter Schulte, research associate, joined a panel of speakers to discuss global water trends and corporate water stewardship at Boston College’s Center for Corporate Citizenship’s Water Webinar on June 2. On June 24, Schulte presented the recycled water chapter from the Pacific Institute’s recent report California Farm Water Success Stories at the Monterey Community Planning Forum, which is currently hosting a series of panels focused on water efficiency and supply in tandem with the “regional blueprint” planning process. For more information and upcoming Planning Forum events, click here .-Catalina Garzón,co-director of the Community Strategies Program, was invited to participate in the International Indigenous Women’s Symposium on Reproductive Health and Environmental Toxins on June 30th and July 1st in Alamo, Calif., hosted by the International Indian Treaty Council. The gathering brought together more than 40 indigenous women from Aotearoa/New Zealand, Mexico, Guatemala, Canada, and the United States to discuss strategies for protecting community health and indigenous ways of life at the intersection of reproductive justice and environmental justice.On June 1, Garzón attended a Transit-Oriented Development and Social Equity Conference hosted by the University of California Transportation Center and the Center for Community Innovation at UC Berkeley. Conference presenters and participants spoke to equity issues ranging from displacement and gentrification associated with transit-oriented development, to maximizing local hiring and other community benefits from the development process.

-Dr. Juliet Christian-Smith, senior research associate, presented the Pacific Institute’s work on the impacts of climate change on water resources and future water governance challenges on June 2 at the German-American Frontiers of Science Symposium, sponsored by the National Academy of the Sciences and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. View her presentation here.

-Lucy Allen, research associate, presented preliminary conclusions of the Pacific Institute’s independent analysis of the 2010 California water bond on June 28 to the Bay Area Water Forum. Download her presentation here, and check back for fact sheets and a full report coming out this month.