On June 24, 2015, the Department of Water Resources announced the award of the 2014 Water-Energy Grant Program whereby SAWPA’s regional project, the Water-Energy Community Action Network (WECAN), will receive a total of $2.3 Million. The funding for this grant is provided by appropriated funds from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund created by AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. WECAN brings water savings to approximately 260 homes and energy savings to approximately 1,703 homes in disadvantaged communities (DACs) in the Santa Ana River Watershed.
Collaborating to Find Solutions
The SAWPA project reflects collaboration with Orange County Coastkeeper, the Energy Coalition, the Truelove Company, the Center for Sustainable Energy, San Bernardino County Community Action Partnership, and a host of retail and wholesale water agencies that include:
- City of Santa Ana
- Fontana Water Company
- Inland Empire Utilities Agency
- Jurupa Valley Community Services District
- San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District
- Western Municipal Water District
- West Valley Water District
Design of WECAN has been coordinated process whereby water agencies, NGOs and energy conservation entities have worked together to devise a solution for assisting disadvantaged community residents during the drought.
Implementation of WECAN
WECAN will use a three pronged approach over approximately three years. The three prongs will include targeted outreach through outreach personnel assigned to areas with the highest density of DACs.
WECAN will entail:
1. Outreach field personnel engaging DAC residents by reaching out to communities in the three counties spanning the Santa Ana River watershed that meet the criteria of qualifying as a single family residence and under the CalEnviroScreen 2.0 DAC tool. Orange County Coastkeeper will expand its Smartscape Program to provide landscaping workshops and a landscaping manual to DAC residents (in English and Spanish) for maintaining retrofitted landscapes with drought tolerant plantings.
2. As part of the water saving retrofits, outreach field personnel will enroll DAC residents in three counties within the watershed for turf grass removal and drought tolerant plant replanting with low flow irrigation installation. By enrolling, residents will receive a pre-screened contracted landscape professional to retrofit their lawn at up to $5/square foot in order to provide benefits at no cost to the resident.
3. As part of the energy saving retrofits, outreach field personnel will enroll and provide direct installation of basic energy efficiency measures (low-flow showerheads, etc.) for residents at no cost to the residents. The Center for Sustainable Energy (CSE) will provide installation training/manuals and serve as a point of contact with the field personnel program managers in order to provide guidance on the installations.
The Final Awards are posted at the following link: http://www.water.ca.gov/waterenergygrant/awards.cfm.