Mountain View, Calif. -- How are tech wizards and high-profile political leaders handling California's most severe drought? I mean, up close and personal?
On Thursday, in the Computer History Museum here, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group gathered for its annual policy conference. Panel discussion topics ranged from dealing with the drought to how to get a more racially diverse group of students interested in science, technology, engineering and math careers, to the "disruptive" technologies that are coming down the pike (virtual reality test drives for Teslas, anyone?).
Each speaker on the drought panel was asked to describe the measures he or she is taking at home. Here's what they said:
Toni Atkins, California Assembly Speaker and San Diego Democrat: "We're doing the lawns and irrigation. Saving the stuff in the shower and watering things. If I get lost in thought and forget the water is running while I brush my teeth, I feel guilty. When I walk my dogs to the park, I take water for them. When I come home and have half the thing left, I figure out what plants I am watering in which order on my porch."
Deepak Garg, CEO of Smart Utility Systems: "Smart sprinklers."
Helen Burt, PG&E's senior vice president for public policy: "I redid my bathrooms in my condo in San Francisco. I actually chose faucets that use 30% less water than the ones that were in there for 30 years. It really does make a difference, but I don't even notice them. Newer faucets really do work, and they are pretty painless."
Andy Ball, president and CEO of Suffolk Construction's West Region: "When to flush. Bucket in shower. Brown lawns are a must today. Dirty cars another requirement. We are installing a Nexus gray water system in the house, so water from sinks, showers and washing machines will be running through a filtration system, then used to flush the toilet water and water--not our lawn--but our drought-resistant plants."
Steve Berglund, CEO of Trimble Navigation, which has, among other things, developed nozzles that tightly control the flow of water to agricultural crops: "I am very conventional. Ground-dwelling animals like to eat drought-resistant plants, so I have nothing particularly innovative to add."
Jeff Lipton, WaterSmart Software's director of marketing: "There's not that much innovative to do. Military showers. Hammering the kids all the time to take shorter showers, and it works."
Brian Brennan, the SVLG's vice president of investor relations: "My kids are waiting for the waterless Slip 'n Slide."
Good luck with that one, kids.