Coachella Valley Recycled Water Myth

March 27th, 2015

     Today I learned that Recycled Water in Coachella Valley consists of more than just wastewater that’s been cleansed and made available for non-potable second use. According to an online report from KESQ  TV it appears the local Desert Water Agency in Palm Springs adds fresh water to the wastewater mix and that’s their version of “recycled”. Read the KESQ report using the link below.

     It leaves me with several questions.

  • Is recycled water sold for a cheaper rate than fresh water customers pay?
  • Do Recycled Water customers adhere to any water conservation standards?
  • When local water agencies boast that valley water customers have met the 20% water reduction goal, did any part of that “reduction” occur as a result of fresh water customers switching monitored fresh water to unreported Recycled Water status?

Bond Shands
March 27, 2015
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Mayor’s Healthy Planet Healthy You Race & Wellness Festival

January 17th, 2015

     Today was the fourth annual Mayor’s Healthy Race & Festival in and starting from the Palm Springs Wellness Park. It’s a fund-raising activity that benefits the City’s commitment to health and reducing childhood obesity.

     I spent the first half of my day as a volunteer starting at 5:30 am this morning. My various tasks included stacking books on tables, assisting with setup of the golden arch under which the race started and finished, inspecting awards plaques, staffing the VIP booth and then the Volunteer Registration booth. The park was filled with individuals of all ages, including three sets of race participants (10 miler, 5k and 1k for children), entertainment, lots of free edibles, and many vendor booths. I found the entire experience an enjoyable activity.

     In the photos one is with Mayor Steve Pougnet (who ran the 10 mile course) and the other with Michele Mician, Sustainability Manager for the City of Palm Springs (and coordinator for the race and festival). In addition to directing the festival activities Michele also took time to run the 5k course. The runners paid entry fees but the Wellness Park festival activities were all free. That included the two photos displayed here.

Bond & Mayor Steve Pougnet - Mayor's Wellness Restival Bond & Michelle Mician - Mayor's Wellness Restival

     Here are links to pages with more information about the event.…/mayor-steve-pougnet-to-lead-…/…/4th-Annual-Ma…/event/24621/

     Should probably confess that my return home shortly before noon was immediately followed by an hour’s snooze.

Bond Shands
January 17, 2015
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Solar Energy Panels Report

October 1st, 2014

In September 2009 I had Solar Energy Panels installed on the roof of my residence. The purpose was to capture sunlight energy and convert to electricity for use in my home. The $28,000 installation cost was more than 50% offset by energy rebates from the State of California and a Federal Income Tax credit. The installation consisted of 23 solar energy panels rated at 4kW intended to produce approximately 80% of my electricity energy needs.  The system’s panels have a 25 year warranty and other components for not less than 10 years.

Energy produced by the panels is routed into the Southern California Edison utility’s line servicing my residence. When the panels produce more energy than required for my use the excess goes into the Edison system and is automatically credited to my account.  In 2009 electric utilities were not required to pay for excess energy routed into their system. The installation of a system meeting only 80% of my needs was to eliminate the possibility of producing excess energy for which no benefit would accrue. California requirements have changed since 2009 and utilities are now required to pay for excess solar energy electricity entering their system.

My solar energy account with Southern California Edison is settled annually following the September installation anniversary. While local utility taxes are billed and paid monthly, the utility’s charges (or credits) for energy are recorded but not billed until the anniversary day. This year’s September 2014 annual bill totaled $350.28 – which I estimate to be approximately 18% of my total electricity (solar and Edison) needs and usage during the year.

I’ve found the solar panel installation an exceeding good financial investment.

  • The $1,922.31 total electricity bill I paid in the year ending September 2009 (before solar installation) dropped to $390.97 in the following year.
  • The 12,101 kWh hours of electricity usage in the pre-September 2009 year dropped to 2,943 kWh hours in the year following.
  • In the September 2014 year just ended my residence used 2,774 kWh hours of Edison electricity and the total cost billed to me for the year was $350.28.

The installation package for my residence includes a Sunny WebBox monitoring unit. It receives and stores current measured solar energy collection values and transmits data via my Internet Router to Sunny Portal, a company that stores, analyzes and reports the measured values. The monitoring unit keeps me updated on the status of the solar panel system around the clock. Data collection parameters can be changed and a variety of measured values can be depicted, analyzed and downloaded via a web browser. Sunny Portal provides a dedicated website for reports of my stored data statistics and tools to configure any reports. The website is quite informative and may be viewed by clicking here.

My estimate of the five-year savings from energy produced by the solar panels is $7,500, a figure representing approximately half my cost for the system. It appears the solar system will have paid for itself in less than ten years with another fifteen years remaining in the warranted life of the panels. The investment in solar energy panels is one I definitely recommend.

Bond Shands


Desert Water Agency Forced To Adopt Mandatory Water Restrictions

August 6th, 2014

Desert Water Agency (DWA) serves the communities of Palm Springs and Cathedral City. They’ve been the subject of ongoing controversy because of their perceived reluctance to enact, promote, monitor and enforce significant water conservation measures needed to address the state-wide emergency drought needs. However, the State of California recently required all local water agencies to activate their emergency water ordinances. The Desert Sun local newspaper reported in their recent “Desert Water Agency adopts mandatory water restrictions” story that the DWA board has finally recognized the need to address the drought conservation needs.

The newspaper’s story could also have been titled “Desert Water Agency Forced To Adopt Mandatory Water Restrictions“. It’s a simple fact that Desert Water Agency (DWA) did not want to impose any form of mandatory water conservation measures. They finally did so because California water officials ordered all local water agencies to implement their emergency drought water ordinances.

The DWA emergency water ordinance is one of the least restrictive in the state. It covers the minimum that should be done to address water drought conditions. The agency’s Board of Directors could have added some teeth to their 1980’s emergency ordinance but instead chose to do nothing in terms of amendment to add needed provisions.

The DWA board could have added provisions to address irrigation water runoff into gutters – but they didn’t!

The DWA board could have added provisions to address water waste that will occur during the upcoming grass scalping season – but they didn’t!

The DWA board could have added provisions to enforce their “mandatory” restrictions ordinance – but they didn’t!

The DWA board could have held a meeting in which they genuinely sought public input that would receive their attention and foster meaningful actions on their part – but they didn’t!

Instead of producing an ordinance the fully addresses the current drought’s need for strong and effective mandatory water use restrictions, DWA has passed the buck to the City of Palm Springs. They plan to encourage Palm Springs officials to enact all the water restriction measures that DWA failed to address.

I applaud the State of California for addressing the state-wide drought and forcing local water agencies to implement mandatory water use controls.

I applaud the City of Palm Springs for the steps they have already taken to address water conservation issues in our community.

I applaud the fact that a few water conservation use restrictions are now in place.

Kudos to all those genuinely responsible for these timely and necessary actions.

August 6, 2014