In partnership with the Santa Clara Valley Water District and the California Conservation Corps, Ecology Action developed the WaterLink program which launched in Santa Clara County in 2016 to tackle the drought and climate change together. WaterLink was one of only eight projects that was funded statewide by a grant from the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) as part of their 2015 water-energy drought response program which is funded by California Climate Investments (Cap and Trade) funds. Early in 2017, WaterLink received an additional $5 million in grants from the Department of Water Resources to expand to two new areas. WaterLink works in disadvantaged communities providing education, installing hot water saving devices, and converting turf to low-water landscaping at no cost.
WaterLink also received top honors in the “Best Organization” category of the Silicon Valley Water Conservation Award Program in 2017, alongside Oracle and Stanford for innovative accomplishments in their categories. The awards are judged by a large coalition of Bay Area decision makers and we’re honored to have such an illustrious panel recognize the program’s positive impacts.
WaterLink is helping Californians make conservation a way of life by combining both financial incentives and the expert technical assistance that residents and businesses need to take immediate action. The program provides free direct installation of cost-effective, indoor hot water conservation measures in single- and multi-family residential units, commercial kitchens, skilled nursing facilities, and hotels in select regions that the State of California recognizes as “disadvantaged”. It will likewise replace lawns and upgrade irrigation systems at schools and institutional facilities in some areas. The turf replacement is being implemented in collaboration with California Conservation Corps, providing them with valuable paid work and green job training experiences.
- Pioneer a new program delivery approach while maximizing water and energy conservation achieved per grant dollar spent.
- Concurrently tackle the drought, water supply sustainability and climate change by targeting water end uses with high embedded energy to maximize greenhouse gas emission reduction.
- Provide job training and reduce utility bills to help communities thrive economically while protecting the environment.
- Engage and assist community residents and businesses who have limited resources to prepare for climate change in their community by reducing water demand indoors and in their landscapes.
In 2016 alone, WaterLink helped east San Jose residents and businesses reduce their water use by 148 million gallons and their energy use by 30 million kWh each year, saving them over $1.5 million on their utility bills. With the new funding, we’ll be able to serve an additional 11,500 people from Daly City to Salinas and save a projected 3.09 billion gallons of water and 627 million kWh of energy. In addition, we’ll be hiring an additional 30+ multilingual staff members in 2017 to deliver this important program.