Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Does California’s water use drive climate change?

Large pumps fill a building at wastewater treatment plant for the Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District near Elk Grove, Calif., on Friday, May 16, 2014.
Large pumps fill a building at wastewater treatment plant for the Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District near Elk Grove, Calif., on Friday, May 16, 2014. mcrisostomo@sacbee.com

A press conference about responding to California’s crippling drought may have seemed like an odd place for questions about energy efficiency. But there Gov. Jerry Brown was yesterday, talking about why he is proposing money for low-emission farming equipment. What, a reporter asked, does that have to do with water?

“We have to be elegant and more efficient,” Brown said. “We are a society that uses a lot of stuff – a lot of electricity, a lot of natural gas, a lot of oil, a lot of water.”

As it turns out, California’s thirst for water and its electricity use are linked. Treating, transporting and heating water accounts for around a fifth of the state’s total electricity use, according to the California Energy Commission.

The link between delivering or treating water and expending energy will be the topic of a Senate Select Committee on Climate Change hearing in Calabasas today. Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, is gathering speakers that include representatives of the State Water Resources Control Board, the California Public Utilities Commission, the California Energy Commission, and the California Air Resources Board.

VIDEO: Here we are again, with California’s state technology overseers struggling. Dan Walters wonders how this keeps happening.

GRAND TOUR: When it comes to institutional knowledge, Assemblyman Ken Cooley, D-Rancho Cordova, is tough to beat. Decades working in or around state politics have made him a repository of facts, including about the State Capitol building itself. He’ll be offering one of his famous tours today, starting on the West steps at 9:15 a.m. No word on how a new bill regulating tour guides would effect such instructionals.

BACK TO WORK: Brown will be in Oakland today to address a forum on hiring former criminal offenders, a topic the Legislature has repeatedly addressed with bills seeking to remove employment obstacles people often face after incarceration. California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Secretary Jeffrey Beard is also expected to speak.

RUN RIVER: Yesterday the Tijuana; today, the New. The Assembly Committee Environmental Safety And Toxic Materials will conduct its second consecutive hearing on river water quality, examining the border-spanning New River. People expected to testify include Assembly members Luis Alejo and Eduardo Garcia, as well as environmental officials from both California and Mexico. Starting at 10:30 a.m. in the Calexico City Council chambers.

BRING BACK BAGS: California’s plastic bag ban is in limbo until 2016, when voters will have a chance to nix the law. Some Republicans don’t want to wait. Assemblyman Matthew Harper, R-Huntington Beach, will be touting his bill repealing the ban today alongside Assemblywoman Ling Ling Chang, R-Diamond Bar, and local elected officials and business owners. Harper has been busy seeking to unravel existing laws, also submitting a bill to repeal cap-and-trade. Another Republican bill would nix California’s lead ammo ban.

Call Jeremy B. White, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 326-5543.

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