Since its initial proposal in 2014, the Clean Power Plan has gained unprecedented traction and engagement as the focus on climate change continues to influence national conversation. In response, President Barack Obama and the EPA officially announced the Clean Power Plan this past Monday. As quoted from the official press release on EPA.gov, “the final Clean Power Plan is fair, flexible and designed to strengthen the fast-growing trend toward cleaner and lower-polluting American energy.”
The Clean Power plan provides attainable emissions standards for existing power plants, as well as customized goals on a state-by-state basis to reduce carbon pollution, providing national consistency while also taking each state’s current energy situation into account. If properly implemented, the Clean Power Plan will show global powers that the United States is committed to addressing climate change and will hopefully result in significant reductions in carbon dioxide emissions by 2030.
With increasing worldwide focus on climate change and the announcement of the Clean Power Plan, when will other sustainable initiatives such as alternative energy or water harvesting gain national traction? While reducing carbon emissions is a step in the right direction, acting on climate change is going to require a multi-faceted approach, combining multiple sustainability initiatives rather than just combating carbon emissions.
If a similar plan was implemented to encourage water reuse efforts, even just for municipal buildings, the United States could potentially influence an increase in water harvesting systems across the country. A typical commercial rainwater harvesting system in one building can save 1-3 million gallons of municipal drinking water each year, and those savings could quickly add up to billions of gallons per year if embraced by both public and private developments. Water harvesting has been gaining traction in drought-ridden parts of the country such as California, where the diminishing water supply is an imminent issue, though it has not yet gained popularity in areas of the country that receive regular rainfall.
Water harvesting should be an integral part of sustainability solutions in arid and rainy areas of the country alike, as it is a long-term solution that can be implemented alongside other efforts to further help combat climate change. A poll of municipalities across the country by the Natural Resources Defense Council found extreme or high risk for water shortages in half of U.S. counties by the year 2050 due to climate change, population growth, and aging infrastructure. Integrating water harvesting systems into the infrastructure will not only preserve our threatened municipal water supply, but also help to prepare for the future effects of climate change.
Wahaso has worked on hundreds of systems throughout the nation and we pride ourselves on unique solutions for water reuse that can optimize water savings at affordable costs. The first step to see if water harvesting makes sense for your project is to go through our free scoping process. To get started, contact us today.
About the Writer: Emily Avellana is a rising senior majoring in marketing at Elmhurst College and a Marketing Intern at Wahaso.