Environment + Climate

UCLA and LADWP to fund water and energy research benefiting customers

The partnership will help UCLA meet the aims of the Sustainable LA Grand Challenge

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Power lines
Nurit Katz/UCLA

Power lines in the Mojave Desert.

UCLA and the city of Los Angeles’s water and power utility have entered a partnership to fund research that will enable the city to manage water supplies more sustainably and become more energy efficient and reliant on clean energy.

Through the partnership, UCLA and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power will identify research that would move the city to greater use of recycled water, increase water and energy conservation and efficiency as well as electrification of the transportation network, and the use and production of local water, and also strengthen climate adaptation planning.

“UCLA is excited to work with LADWP as a research partner to answer some of the city’s most critical water and energy sustainability questions,” said Mark Gold, the university’s associate vice chancellor for environment and sustainability.

“This targeted research will assist LADWP, the city and the region in efforts to reduce Los Angeles’ carbon footprint and become even more sustainable in the near future,” said Nancy Sutley, chief sustainability officer for LADWP.

In 2013, the UCLA Sustainable LA Grand Challenge set the goal of transitioning Los Angeles County to 100 percent renewable energy and water self-sufficiency by 2050.

UCLA will administer the $5 million fund and collaborate with universities throughout the city over the next five years.

The agreement also establishes two key committees. The first is the Sustainable LA Research Management Committee co-chaired by Gold, as well as, Martin Adams, LADWP’s chief operating officer, and Sutley. The management committee determines the annual research agenda, projects, budgets and research teams.

In the future, a research advisory subcommittee will be established to provide guidance to the research management committee on potential research projects and faculty research expertise.  The subcommittee includes representatives from each major research university across the city of Los Angeles including Loyola Marymount University, USC, Cal State Northridge and Cal State Los Angeles.

The partnership allows UCLA to work alongside other universities to advance the region in achieving its local water and energy goals as well as the aims of the Sustainable LA Grand Challenge.

Sustainable LA organizes hundreds of faculty and researchers from across campus to reach these ambitious goals, which have positioned UCLA as a key player in regional sustainability efforts like the new project with LADWP.

In September at the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate State Bill 100 — California’s 100 percent clean energy bill — into law and announced an executive order directing California to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045. This set an even more ambitious goal than Sustainable LA announced at its launch in 2013.

“It’s a clear signal that California and Los Angeles are taking these bold goals seriously,” said LADWP’s Adams.

“Partnering with LADWP and other research universities will accelerate the regions progress to achieve these mandates,” said Gold, who also leads the university’s sustainability focused Grand Challenge.

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