June 26, 2015

For Immediate Release

June 26, 2015


Ecology Action to Help Low Income Residents and Businesses Save $19M by Reducing Water and Energy Use

WaterLink Partners Include Santa Clara Valley Water District and California Conservation Corps


SANTA CRUZ, CA— Ecology Action, a Santa Cruz-based non-profit environmental consultancy, has been awarded a $2.5 million grant to roll out a new water and energy conservation program in Santa Clara County. The grant comes from the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) Grant Program and is sourced through the state’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund.


The grant supports the launch of WaterLink, a water and energy savings program in collaboration with the Santa Clara Valley Water District (SCVWD) and the California Conservation Corps (CCC). WaterLink targets communities and neighborhoods in Santa Clara County with an annual household income of less than $48,706. The program provides residents, business owners and schools with rebates, direct installation of water efficiency hardware, and in-person technical expertise designed to save both water and energy.  The program’s goals were driven by Ecology Action’s mission of helping people act now to make simple, yet profound, changes that have big environmental impacts.


Kirsten Liske, Vice President of Community Programs at Ecology Action said, “At Ecology Action, we realize that water and energy savings are intertwined. WaterLink will make it easy for low-income residents and businesses to act now in response to the statewide drought while also reducing their utility bills. We’re excited to work with both the Santa Clara Valley Water District and the California Conservation Corps on this project which will build stronger businesses, healthier communities and a sustainable future for all.”


WaterLink will serve more than 150,000 homes, schools, and businesses in Santa Clara County’s low-income regions. The program will install cost-effective, indoor hot water conservation measures in residential homes and units, commercial kitchens, skilled nursing facilities, and hotels. It will also implement irrigation efficiency upgrades at schools and public facilities, replacing turf and sprinklers with climate-appropriate plants and efficient irrigation systems.


The California Conservation Corps (CCC) will participate in WaterLink by providing Corps members, 18 to 25-year-olds who complete one year of service to improve California’s natural resources, to participate in the execution of the program. California Conservation Corps members will receive job training that focuses on sheet mulching, irrigation installation and management, and climate appropriate landscape design and installation.


“WaterLink will help Santa Clara County residents prepare for climate change in our community by reducing water demand indoors and in their landscapes. In addition to helping us meet water reduction goals, the program will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, provide job training, and reduce utility bills to help disadvantaged communities thrive economically while protecting the environment,” said Jerry De La Piedra, Santa Clara Valley Water District Water Supply Planning & Conservation Unit Manager.


It is estimated that WaterLink will save more than 534 million gallons of water, (almost a week’s supply for the City of San Jose) $19.3 million dollars in avoided water and energy utility costs, and the equivalent greenhouse gas emissions (burning more than 3.4 million gallons of gasoline). Santa Clara County residents that are eligible to participate in the WaterLink program will be contacted in early 2016.


About Ecology Action

Ecology Action is a non-profit consultancy that specializes in partnering with utilities, local and federal government, foundations and communities to help residents to conserve water, use alternative transportation, protect water quality, and save energy. Founded on Earth Day in 1970, Ecology Action is passionately driven to empower individuals, businesses, and communities to take actions today that achieve environmental and economic sustainability. Since launching its first energy-saving program in 2002, Ecology Action has served more than 14,000 small businesses in California and installed efficiency measures that achieve annual resource savings of 413,530621 kWh, 1,531,228 therms of natural gas, 107,628 metric tons of CO2 and 208,221940 gallons of water. For its work, Ecology Action has been awarded twice with the Governor’s Environmental & Economic Leadership Award. To learn more, visit www.ecoact.org.


About Santa Clara Valley Water District

The mission of the Santa Clara Valley Water District (SCVWD) is to provide safe, clean water to Silicon Valley for a healthy life, environment, and economy. They are nationally recognized as a leading water resources management agency. SVCWD is a wholesale water provider for local municipalities and private water retailers who deliver drinking water directly to homes and businesses in Santa Clara County. They manage an integrated water resources system that includes the supply of clean, safe water, flood protection, and stewardship of streams on behalf of Santa Clara County’s 1.9 million residents. For more information, see www.valleywater.org.


About California Conservation Corps, Monterey Bay Chapter, San Jose Office

The California Conservation Corps (CCC) is a state agency that puts together young people and the environment, to the benefit of both. Corps members – young men and women between the ages of 18 and 25 – sign up for a year of working outdoors to improve California’s natural resources and assist with emergency response. The CCC, modeled after the original Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930s, is the oldest and largest conservation corps now in operation. Created by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. in 1976, more than 120,000 young people have been a part of the CCC since that time. To find out more, go to www.ccc.ca.gov.