Water scarcity is a hot button topic in the West; Marc Reisner’s 1994 classic “Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water” painted a vibrant picture of the unique interaction of water rights, land use, ecosystem, and climate. Highlighting local sustainability trends and challenges is always a focus at Greenbuild, and this year’s conference in Los Angeles is no different.

California faces multiple water scarcity challenges, from supplying potable water to metropolises like Los Angeles, to supporting a multi-billion agricultural industry in a climate that gets just a few inches of rain each summer and is as dry as Beirut. California is in a multi-year drought cycle, water storage reserves have been declining for over a decade, and a state of emergency was declared in 2015. Add resiliency challenges including seismic instability, wildfires, and an aging infrastructure to the mix, and it’s easy to see why there is no shortage of conversation on California.

Water Scarcity Los Angeles

California is “ground zero” for water conservation; the decisions made around the built environment have the potential to make a real and immediate difference.

Greenbuild 2016: Iconic Green is holding a full day WaterBuild Summit on October 4, designed to drive conversation and solve problems centered on water, one of the Earth’s most important resources.

Sessions about current challenges and presenting California case studies will seed discussions about solutions to propagate sustainable, resilient, and healthy communities now and into the future in California and beyond.

Attendees will learn about onsite water reuse, and see examples of where and how water meets community via two afternoon sessions presented in the Pecha Kucha format. The net zero water efforts on the Cal Tech campus and in Los Angeles County will be discussed, the latter via a charrette-style session and the former through a case study presentation.

I’m excited to see this day kick off the WaterBuild program, which is planned for three Greenbuild conferences. This WaterBuild journey starts in Los Angeles and continues in Boston (2017) and Atlanta (2018). Topics planned for the multi-year program include healthy drinking water; innovative water-saving designs; technologies and policies; and infrastructure solutions for enhanced resilience.

As my colleague and LEED Fellow, Brad Pease said,

Together, let’s create an innovation hub and connect thought leaders to each other. This simple idea is what founded USGBC the first time around. We don’t need a committee or a white paper, or approval from anyone or any organization – we can start with what we have – a collection of the best and brightest in Los Angeles, California…”

We encourage you to attend and contribute your ideas on this critical issue. Join the conversation!

Michelle Diller

Michelle Dusseau Diller, PE, PMP, LEED AP BD+C, GGP, ENV SP, is Senior Technical Manager at Paladino and Company. 

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