San Francisco’s bold and risqué water strategy

San Francisco’s Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) has launched its successful bold and risqué water conservation advertisements for the second year in a row to achieve well-below average consumption rates compared to the rest of California. Meanwhile the city is developing recycled water to ensure San Francisco can provide a drought-resistant and sustainable water source for non-drinking uses.

Bold and risqué  water strategy

On June 1st, SFPUC launched its multi-lingual, citywide education campaign that promotes water conservation through behavioural change – with a difference.

The SFPUC’s racy public awareness advertisements, that feature in or on newspapers, bus shelters, buses and billboards, will get the heart racing with creatively crafted messages that blare out for customers to ‘’Jiggle it’’ when looking for leaks, ‘’Make it a quickie’’ when having a shower and ‘’Doing it’’ by replacing old toilets and getting paid for it.  These advertisements follow on from their success in 2014 that saw SFPUC’s 2.6 million water users shooting past the target of cutting use by 10 percent and conserved 12 percent instead.

The results have paid off with average use in San Francisco in April a mere 44 gallons a day resulting in San Francisco needing to conserve 8 percent this year, compared to other cities in California that must conserve 30 percent.

San Francisco conserving its way towards sustainability

San Francisco conserving its way towards sustainability

Westside Recycled Water Project

In 2016, SFPUC will begin construction on the $186 million Westside Recycled Water Project that aims to reduce pressure on scarce water resources by developing alternative water supplies to serve non-drinking water needs.

Once completed in 2019, the Westside Recycled Water Project, which includes the construction of a new recycled water treatment facility within the existing Oceanside Water Pollution Control Plant along with storage reservoirs, pump stations and pipelines, will deliver up to two million gallons of recycled water per day on average for irrigation of Golden Gate Park, Lincoln Park, Presidio Golf Course and the National Cemetery as well as water for toilet flushing at the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park. During the summertime, the recycled water treatment facility will be able to meet peak deliveries of up to four million gallons per day.

To ensure the recycled water is healthy and meets the California Code of Regulations the Westside Recycled Water Project will use membrane filtration, reverse osmosis and disinfection using UV light to ensure the quality of the recycled water exceeds state of California standards. In addition, the recycled water will be monitored and tested daily to ensure it consistently meets these high standards.

The take-out

To cut through the clutter and standout, San Francisco’s Public Utilities Commission uses bold and risqué ads to drive water conservation – with enormous success – while the city also develops sustainable recycled water supplies for non-potable use.

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Author: Robert C. Brears

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  1. It is encouraging news for people concerned about droughts engulfing regions after regions.
    Education about smart way of water use, conservation and recycling of waste water actually go hand in hand.Example set by the authority of San Francisco may go a long way to emulate other cities to mitigate water scarcity of their own.

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