It’s a case of synaptic activism; an example of passionate people making new connections. In this case, our common goal is water capture.
We met with Ursula Schmidt of PWP, who is Water Conservation Program Manager, and Melanie Winter, Director of Water LA. The topics ranged from installing swales at Pasadena Public Schools to choosing an area in Pasadena that would benefit from an entire neighborhood working together building water capture projects on their own property, similar to the Water LA Phase 1 Pilot program. I predict cooperation in the near future.
In the Phase 1 Pilot program in Panorama City there were multiple teams of five or so families who agreed to participate. And part of the agreement was “I will not only work on my own water capture, I will help my neighbors work on their water capture.” So they got to know their neighbors, and they all worked together.
When Pasadena is upgrading a street, they occasionally add a swale, which is terrific. But Water LA is leveraging the fact that homeowners can also put in swales to increase the water going to our local groundwater. And we don’t have to pay engineers to make a huge plan with a lot of concrete because it’s just one person with a shovel!
On January 23rd I went to the City of Pasadena Municipal Services Committee (MSC) meeting. They had a presentation given to them about the Climate Action Plan (CAP). The CAP has five areas of influence: transportation, energy, water conservation, greening the city, and waste. I spoke about how swales will help two of the five; they are water conservation and greening the city.
Usually metrics are required when deciding where to spend city time and money. So I asked the MSC to make an exception for having data or evidence of success about the benefits of swales. Metrics are important but with swales the success is invisible, because the success, the water captured, is underground.
But wouldn’t it be better if we could have the data, the evidence of success? Stay tuned because PWP and Water LA will be meeting in February to explore exactly this possibility. More synaptic activism!