[KHTS] – College of the Canyons officials hosted their second annual Green Up: Community Action and Education conference Saturday to promote water and energy sustainability efforts.
Presented by SCV Family of Water Suppliers and Santa Clarita Environmental Education Consortium (SCEEC) officials, the event featured a variety of discussion panels, workshops, vendors and children’s activities.
“We want to work with local K-12 (schools) and the community in general raising awareness about environmental issues, and we want to promote environmental literacy,” said Dr. Jia-Yi Cheng-Levine, vice chair of the SCEEC advisory board. “Each year we look at what would be the most urgent topics that people should be aware of, and as we all know, it’s the drought. We try to cover all grounds if we can.”
Castaic Lake Water Agency’s general manager, Dan Masnada, discussed the drought and its effects on Santa Clarita during his keynote address.
Masnada discussed the actions being taken to address the drought within the community and the direct benefits of the Water Quality, Supply and Infrastructure Improvement Act, or Prop 1, which is set to be on the ballot in the upcoming general election.
“The main thing is to continue to urge people to consciously think about their water use and conserving where possible, because every drop they save right now we’ll be able to use next year,” Masnada said. “Ultimately, it also saves them money. We can meet demands, but it gets more expensive to do so when we’re taking water out of what we call our water banks to supplement normal deliveries of water.”
Exterior water use offers the greatest opportunity for residents to conserve and save money, according to Masnada, who cited statistics that show 60 to 70 percent of average water use is for landscaping.
“If they just cut back on their irrigation 20 percent, the plants won’t die,” he said. “They may be stressed a little bit, but that’s the easiest thing (residents) can do to conserve water on top of the other little things that they can do in the house and really not impact their standard of life in any matter.”
In addition to water and energy conservation, other discussion topics included sustainability in academia, non-toxic pest control, edible insects, sustainable landscape design and sustainability in theory and action.
Students from Santa Clarita Valley schools were honored during an award ceremony for their writing contributions, which focused on what sustainability means to them.
Their project submissions were displayed around the room in the shape of trees, with paper leaves decorating their sides describing things they can do to help conserve.
About 100 Santa Clarita Valley residents attended the event, which was held at the Dianne G. Van Hook University Center at COC.