Concerned about Climate Change? Help Us Take Action.
On April 28, the City hosted its fourth, and final, Stakeholder Group meeting to discuss potential strategies to include in the City’s Climate and Environmental Action Plan (CEAP). The focus was on water use, solid waste and recycling, and environmental quality of life issues.
Greenhouse gas emissions from water use primarily result from the transport of water from its source in the Sierra Nevada mountains north of Sacramento, via the California Aqueduct through the Central Valley, and over the Tehachapi mountains to the greater Los Angeles region. Most of the emissions are due to pumping necessary to get the water over the mountains. To reduce energy use and associated emissions requires a reduction in water use, and the use of renewable energy where possible. Fortunately there has been good progress on both these fronts in the past decade.
The chart shows the trend in water supplied by the City's water agency (approximately 17,000 accounts, or about 35% of the city) since peak usage in 2005 to date. The reduction in usage after the 2014 drought declaration is evident, and although usage increased after the restrictions were lifted, we are still averaging about 20% below the pre-drought period. The three other water purveyors (California-American, Camrosa and California Water) show similar savings.
To increase resilience, the City is exploring options for local water sources including exploration of groundwater potential using a well at Los Robles golf course, and recycling of water from Hill Canyon Treatment Plant. To hear the discussion and learn more, listen to the meeting presentation.
To combat emissions from solid waste will require diversion of organic material from the landfill. Organic waste includes food waste, green waste, landscape and pruning waste, nonhazardous wood waste, and food-soiled paper waste that is mixed in with food waste. When these materials are landfilled, they decompose into methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. Much of this methane is captured through pipes buried at the landfill but in order to try to eliminate emissions further there will be separate waste service to collect and compost organics (landscape waste and food waste) from all residents and businesses starting next year.
With regard to other environmental issues to address in the CEAP, trees and the urban forest were discussed, including the need for resources for helping the public make good tree planting choices and caring properly for trees. The impacts of climate change continue to be felt on our local trees, causing stress from drought and insect damage.
Noise and air pollution from gas-powered landscape equipment, particularly leaf blowers, were issues of concern, together with ensuring that the City protects the night sky view by using directional lighting outdoors and eliminating idling of vehicles, particularly outside schools.
We encourage you to participate in a community-wide discussion to comment on the drafted strategies by attending our CEAP event on the morning of Saturday, July 10. This is tentatively scheduled to be held at the Thousand Oaks Grant Brimhall Library on Janss Rd. Register hereto receive more details on this event and progress on the Climate and Environmental Action Plan.