Posted on March 31, 2015

VIDEO: Water Was the Topic, and Drought Was the Focus, at 2015 PG&E Water Conservation Showcase


By Matt Nauman

SAN FRANCISCO — “Water, water everywhere” is how the old saying starts. These days, though, there’s not nearly enough water everywhere.

That’s why California’s drought was the focus of the 2015 Water Conservation Showcase held at PG&E’s Pacific Energy Center in San Francisco on Tuesday (March 24).

Vendors showed off new products and agencies shared tips at the Water Conservation Showcase. (Photos by James Green.)

The event featured presentations by experts and product and service demonstrations at booths.

For PG&E, the Water Showcase is a natural extension of the company’s focus on energy efficiency and sustainability.

“We’ve been doing this for the last 12 years,” said Susan Norris, a PG&E senior manager in energy efficiency products. “There’s a very strong connection, a direct connection, between water conservation and energy use and that’s why we are here to try to pull those two components together.”

(PG&E offers a list of drought resources for its customers on its website.)

Hundreds of industry professionals heard from experts such as Dr. Mark Strudley, a hydrologist with the NOAA National Weather Service in Monterey, who talked about the severity of the drought.

“We’re four years into the drought here in California and the situation, in many ways, just kind of keeps getting worse and worse,” Strudley said. “Unless we get a lot of rain this coming spring, and that’s going away pretty quick here, we’re going to head into another tough time this summer with water supply.”

Porous materials used instead of concrete help absorb water and avoid run-off.

Other speakers represented the East Bay Municipal Utility District and the U.S. Green Building Council, two other sponsors of the event.

Outside the conference rooms, the floor of the Pacific Energy Center was full of booth where entities such as the Environmental Protection Agency handed out information on its Water Sense program and companies talked about things like re-cycling shower water.

Sloan, which makes plumbing fixtures for businesses, showed off devices that use and waste less water, such as a new touch-free sink system that includes a soap dispenser, a water faucet and a high-speed hand-dryer — all in one unit.

“One of the biggest driving forces in our industry today is how do you save more water, particularly in a state like California where it’s such an issue today,” said Mike Gipson, a product line manager with Sloan.

Nearby, the Bay Area Water Supply & Conservation Agency (BAWSCA) offered tips on water-efficient landscaping and info on rain-barrel rebates. It represents many Bay Area water agencies. Its booth struck an optimistic note – an umbrella.

The focus at the annual event was the continuing California drought.

“We’re here because this is a fantastic event and there are so many great technologies out there, new things coming on the market every year, that you can’t even begin to find out about without something like this,” said Andree Johnson, a water resource specialist with the agency.

BAWSCA’s booth struck an optimistic note – an umbrella.

“That is what I call wishful thinking,” Johnson said with a laugh.

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"PG&E" refers to Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation.
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