Mandating water efficiency


29-Feb-2020 14:39

Q: What steps have you taken to address water efficiency?

Collins: Since Irvine Company was founded-and we were originally an agricultural company, and we've been in business for more than 150 years--we've been thoughtful stewards of some of the most valuable land anywhere, conserving and reusing water by all means available.

…All high efficiency, high-speed spin washers (both top and front-load) invariably possess a motherboard and a host of electronic parts, and according to those who repair them for a living, washers crammed with multiple electronic sensors, touchpads, digital displays, and miniaturized circuit boards tend to need more frequent repair — i.e. They must be kept on an electrical circuit with functioning surge protection, because their vulnerable and expensive solid-state components can easily degrade or burn out with electrical power surges.

The writer points out that the federal government's 2007 Energy Star standards have, for the most part, eliminated the traditional design for washing machines because those machines cannot obtain the government's certifications, unlike the newer devices that manufacturers have turned out to specifically meet federal requirements.

The requirements of Water Efficiency Management Practices, under Part IVA of the Public Utilities (Water Supply) Regulations, came into effect from January 2015.

Und​er the Water Efficiency Management Practices, it is mandatory for large water users with net water consumption of at least 60,000 m in the previous year (i.e. Submit a notification to PUB by 31 March (for specified consumers*) or 30 April (for non-specified consumers) for their different sites meeting this water consumption threshold. Install private water meters at key water usage areas within their premises by 30 June to track and monitor water usage. Submit their annual Water Efficiency Management Plan (WEMP) to PUB by 30 June for at least three consecutive years. Appoint at least one Water Efficiency Manager by 30 June * Specified consumers - Consumers who hold one or more water accounts with PUB for water supplied to the site and the volume of water used under these account(s) in the preceding calendar year is at least 60,000 m³.

We use drip irrigation where possible, especially in parking lot islands, which has the added benefit of reducing cost for repairing water damage on asphalt.

And we use master valves with flow sensing as much as possible to prevent water loss due to main line breaks and stuck valves.

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Q; Following up on what you said about the mandate to turn off water to medians, how do you think that will affect the overall appeal and/or your plant palette?

This interesting article on Epinions discusses the impact of federal energy efficiency standards for washing machines, including (1) the myths of energy savings (2) the long-term, negative environmental impacts of the high-efficiency machines, and (3) the cost to consumers of the government's high-efficiency, short-lived washers.

The writer notes: Too many large appliance products are now being engineered to meet priorities that do not include a reasonable interval between repairs and a service life commensurate with their initial cost.

Collins: Well, the medians, for us, happen to be in one of our most important areas in Newport Beach.

So, there's no way we can just have dead turf medians-that just doesn't work-so, basically, we're going to have to look at other alternatives, including re-landscaping with drip [irrigation] and drought-tolerant shrubs.The Water Efficiency Management Plan allows customers to: Get Funding Organisations may wish to tap on PUB’s Water Efficiency Fund to assist in the implementation of water efficiency projects if they are able to meet the eligibility criteria for the relevant type of project.