WaterLink Brings Change to Disadvantaged Communities
WaterLink helps the economies of Bay Area communities, while saving water and energy.
The Santa Clara Valley Water District has a bucketful of incentives, give-aways and educational resources to help area residents save water, energy and money, but for a whole host of reasons those resources weren’t being used by many people in the district’s most disadvantaged communities. Enter WaterLink – in 2016 this Ecology Action program received $2.5 million in funding from the California Department of Water Resources (CA DWR) through the California Climate Investments fund to reach out to these communities.
And in March of 2017, the WaterLink program received two more $2.5 million grants from the CA DWR to expand into both the South San Francisco Bay and Monterey Bay Areas. On top of that, also in March, a coalition of Bay Area organizations and agencies awarded WaterLink the 2017 Silicon Valley Water Conservation Award for best organization.
The WaterLink program was designed from the beginning to overcome the barriers that keep residents of disadvantaged communities away from the benefits of conservation. It was also designed to directly assist these communities financially. WaterLink hires local people who understand the culture and speak the languages of the communities they serve. Not only does this improve the effectiveness of the program’s outreach, it also brings job training and wages directly into the communities.
Most importantly, WaterLink saves water and energy. In Santa Clara alone it saves 148 million gallons of water and 30 million kilo Watt hours of energy per year. The expanded program is projected to increase that savings by over 3 billion gallons of water and 627 million kWh of energy. Just as importantly, the overall programs are projected to save area residents over $1.5 million in water utility costs and nearly $4.2 million in energy utilities each year. Combine that with over $1.8 million in wages going directly to workers the program hires within the communities and you have a significant impact on area economies.
If you’re interested in learning more about the program, check out WaterLink’s official site.