FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 28, 2023
San Francisco Releases Updated Climate Action Plan With A New Chapter Focusing On Water Supply And Conservation
The updated Climate Action Plan further strengthens the City’s multi-agency approach with solutions that will prepare San Francisco’s water supply for a changing climate.
SAN FRANCISCO — Today, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) and San Francisco Environment Department (SFE) announced the Water Supply Addendum to the City’s Climate Action Plan, adding a critical seventh sector to the City’s ground-breaking plan to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2040. Specifically, the new chapter encompasses three key strategies and 15 supporting actions for water resilience against the threat of a warming climate.
Originally, the 2021 Climate Action Plan consisted of 31 implementable strategies with 159 specific actions across six sectors: Energy Supply, Building Operations, Transportation and Land Use, Housing, Responsible Production and Consumption, and Healthy Ecosystems. Now, the newly issued Water Supply sector showcases how the City plans to address and secure water supplies that are impacted by multiple climate challenges by:
- Continuing to implement highly effective water conservation programs;
- Deploying innovative ways to conserve, recover, and reuse water; and
- Augmenting the SFPUC's Regional Water System by investing in alternative water supply projects.
“Water is essential for life,” said SFPUC General Manager Dennis Herrera. “It’s critical that we ensure a stable water supply as the climate changes. We’re witnessing firsthand the effects of a changing climate in California with weather whiplash – prolonged drought followed by extreme storms. That’s why we can’t take our water supply for granted. This addendum acknowledges the hard work of our agency over the years, our accomplishments to date, and details how our continued investments and initiatives will pave the way for a more sustainable future. As we continue providing high-quality and reliable services to our customers, we are also serving as an invaluable partner in the City’s climate and sustainability goals.”
“As robust and comprehensive as San Francisco’s Climate Action Plan is, it must be routinely re-evaluated and updated in order to be adaptable and effective in addressing the growing impacts of climate change,” said Tyrone Jue, Director of the San Francisco Environment Department. “I’m grateful to the SFPUC’s leadership for the long-term investments in resilience and sustainability, and I look forward to the progress yet to come.”
The strategies and actions listed in the new chapter have been incorporated into the City’s annual monitoring, evaluation, and reporting process for the Climate Action Plan, which includes data indicators for key strategies designed to help track and communicate the plan’s implementation. This information will enable the City and stakeholders to better understand the impacts of the Climate Action Plan actions and to monitor collective progress over time.
San Francisco's Leadership on Climate Action
Since its first Climate Action Plan in 2004, San Francisco has been leading the way on local climate action, environmental justice, and launching innovative community programs and outreach campaigns for residents and businesses. For decades, San Francisco has created plans, implemented policies, and crafted engaging frameworks to reduce emissions. As of 2020, the city has achieved a 48% reduction in emissions from 1990 levels. Its emissions reductions have been driven primarily by cleaner electricity supply, improved energy codes, and city-wide energy efficiency. This progress has not just reduced emissions, but has also come with additional important benefits, such as cutting air pollution and limiting other environmental stressors.
In 2021, under the leadership of Mayor London. N. Breed, San Francisco codified its most aggressive goal to date, achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2040, and articulated the path to achieving those goals through the latest Climate Action Plan. With a focus on equity, the plan recognizes the disproportionate impacts of climate change and strives to implement environmental strategies that simultaneously uplift the City’s low-income communities, vulnerable populations, and people of color.
SFPUC Investments in Climate Mitigation and Adaptation
Much of the City’s major environmental progress can be attributed to the SFPUC’s longtime investments in clean energy and water sustainability. Through its two clean energy programs, CleanPowerSF and Hetch Hetchy Power, the SFPUC currently provides about 75 percent of the electricity consumed in San Francisco. Specific to water resilience and sustainability, the SFPUC is: partnering with the community to implement robust conservation programs; minimizing the need for additional water to serve new developments through pioneering an onsite water reuse programs; recycling wastewater resources to deliver water for large parks and golf courses; utilizing local groundwater supplies to supplement surface water supplies; and investigating alternative water supply options – such as purified water and desalination – to ensure sufficient water for future needs. As water supplies statewide continue to be affected by dynamic forces including climate change, diversifying the City’s water supply portfolio is critical to providing a high-quality and reliable water service while protecting these precious resources.
About the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission is a department of the City and County of San Francisco. It delivers drinking water to 2.7 million people in the Bay Area, collects and treats wastewater for the City and County of San Francisco, and meets over 70 percent of the electricity demand in San Francisco. Our mission is to provide our customers with high-quality, efficient and reliable water, power, and sewer services in a manner that values environmental and community interests and sustains the resources entrusted to our care. Learn more at sfpuc.org.
About the San Francisco Environment Department
The San Francisco Environment Department advances climate protection and enhances quality of life for all San Franciscans. The Department works closely with the commercial, private, and municipal sectors to promote clean energy in our vehicles and buildings with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving local air quality. The Department’s award winning Zero Waste program provides education and outreach to residents and businesses about San Francisco’s zero waste policies and programs. Learn more at sfenvironment.org.