Intelligent Water Consumption: Next Frontier for the Smart Grid?
The Rim Fire, a conflagration centered in California’s Tuolumne County, is larger than the city boundaries of Chicago (with its own interesting history about fire.) This fire threatens critical power and water infrastructure as well as Yosemite National Park and property for thousands of people and businesses. The Hetch Hetchy Regional Water System delivers water for 2.6 million residents and businesses in the San Francisco Bay Area, including my town in Silicon Valley. This system also supplies hydropower for the City of San Francisco, and two of three powerhouses in that area are shut down and awaiting inspection along with high voltage transmission lines, serving important city agencies like police and fire stations, City Hall, SF General Hospital, streetlights, and the city’s electrified transit system. There will be damage to some of the electric grid’s assets. The water infrastructure appears to be unaffected.
The City has backup plans in place for both power and water. San Francisco’s Public Utilities Commission spent $4.6B over ten years to upgrade critical infrastructure and build more reliability into their infrastructure and sources of supplies (water and electricity) as well as the transport of them to the city and its water customers stretching down into the northern border of Silicon Valley.
This event raised a couple of questions for me and a compare and contrast exercise. What if the water system had been damaged to the point that these backup plans go into effect? Would it limit the amount of water that would be available to my community? Could residential customers such as myself curtail water usage in the same ways (and as conveniently) as we are asked to curtail electricity usage? What tools and programs would be available for me to do this?
Read more via The Energy Collective