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Disappointment Expressed for Petaluma Water Conservation

Dave –

You are completely correct. This is a real disappointment. It would be great if you and others would send letters to the editor about this (both PD and Argus).

The real estate sales lobby effectively flexed its muscles at the City Council, and the council folded. Surely, this is the ‘anti-regulatory’ crew in action.

This is truly a major loss, as the example Petaluma has been charting for water demand reductions over the next 20 years in lieu of increased water supplies, coupled with commensurate energy reductions, was setting a higher bar for all of the county.

Would the real estate brokers complain about this if the issue were, say, termite inspections? Roofing inspections?

They completely missed the cost savings to the new home owners, as well as the impending higher costs of new water for the SCWA system contractors. Also, since sewer rates are tied to winter water usage in Petaluma, there is also a savings to the new homeowners in sewer rates year-round.

David Keller FOER

It was extremely disappointing to read of the Petaluma City Council’s failure to enact rational legislation on water conservation. I found it interesting that a special interest seemed to be the political force that turned the tide against protecting the public good/commons. The one citizen they quoted not identified as a member of a special interest indicated that the City should be more focused on building a pipeline to Lake Sonoma, rather than all this silly talk about conservation.

The other element of this is that the Council missed the truly enormous opportunity to get twice the bang for the buck on hot water conservation measures. Not only do you save water on the high efficiency hot water appliances, you also reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 44% of the residential natural gas use and 10% of the residential electricity is for hot water heating. Laundry and dishwashers are among the top ten energy users in the residential sector.

In fact, water heating alone in the commercial and residential sectors accounts for a whopping 20% of TOTAL greenhouse gas emissions from electricity and natural gas use in the County, according to figures from the California Energy Commission. And that doesn’t count the electricity use of water using appliances. Not to mention the embedded energy in water and wastewater that would be avoided by efficiency.

We, collectively, missed a huge opportunity for leadership on two highly important and visible fronts, water and greenhouse gas emissions reduction.

Truly disheartening.

Dave Erickson