SANTA CRUZ – With water supply issues becoming increasingly critical for California cities, the State has become one of the country’s most progressive in conserving, transporting and managing water resources. Santa Cruz Water Director Bill Kocher is taking a leadership position in statewide associations dedicated to water issues, to ensure the City has access to the most advanced technologies and solutions available.
When Kocher was directed by the Santa Cruz city council in 2005 to pursue desalination as a potential new water source, he knew from his experience on boards such as California Urban Water Conservation Council, Association of California Water Agencies, California Municipal Utilities Association and the American Water Works Association, that while technology of desalination had made tremendous strides in the past few years, few agencies had access to the reliable information available. There are many successful desal projects around the globe, but the technology is relatively new to the United States and especially to California.
Kocher became one of a handful of respected leaders of water agencies who formed CalDesal, dedicated to advancing responsible, sustainable development of ocean desalination, groundwater desalination and salinity management activities.
“Several years ago, a group of water agency managers looking into desal met at a water conference to talk about the work we were doing,” Kocher said. “We agreed then that it would greatly benefit all the agencies if we regularly communicated and shared our work, best practices and lessons learned. Thus, Cal Desal was born, and it’s been a tremendous benefit to all of us for sharing studies on energy use, brine disposal, intake technology, and even viable alternatives to desal.”
As interest in both ocean and groundwater desal continues to rise in California, Kocher continues to take a leadership role with CalDesal and was recently named vice-president of the non-profit board of directors. He acknowledges that it’s a thankless job, but is heartened by the important role Cal Desal has had in sharing critical technical, policy and regulatory information with California water agencies considering desal projects.
For more information on Cal Desal, visit www.caldesal.org
For more information on the Santa Cruz Water Department and the recently released Environmental Impact Report on desalination, visit www.cityofsantacruz.com