As the State of California enters its fourth year of drought conditions, and 65% of the Western States languish under severe or extreme drought conditions, policymakers are gleaning answers from the construction industry about how to synergistically work though the water shortage problem. On June 2nd before the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Dave Cogdill, CEO of the California Building Industry Association (CBIA), addressed some of the construction industry’s concerns and beneficial actions in partnering to mitigate affects of the drought. In his testimony, Mr. Cogdill provided information that legislators need to consider before enacting policies to lessen the impacts of drought on California that could ripple into numerous adverse affects on the broader economy. As an active member of CBIA, Frayji Design Group Inc., can eagerly echo and affirm these sentiments.
Dave Cogdill identified that the construction industry serves a vital role both in the California economy and in water shortage mitigation. His testimony noted:
- California’s Construction Industry drives a huge portion of the California economic market, creating more than 227,000 jobs and generating $42 billion in economic activity in the present year. Construction industry growth is also multiplicative, a new permanent construction job also leads to 1.4 jobs in other sectors. Frayji Design Group, a civil engineering firm serviing Saramento, has witnessed the positive affect that the construction industry has had upon the State’s economic outlook, with literally thousands of well-paying jobs being created to construct the developments designed by FDG.
- Citing a report from the California Legislative Analyst’s Office, the testimony also points out that the shortage of housing in California drives up housing rates, which in turn means that working families spend a larger portion of their income on housing than the rest of the nation. If broad new restrictions were placed that further erode the ability for homes to enter the market, housing costs would be driven higher and affordability would drop precipitously. At Frayji Design Group, Inc., we work with our clients to develop a variety of housing options to address affordable housing needs and help correct this shortage.
- Contrary to common perception, California’s Construction industry has a benefit upon addressing the water shortage during the drought, rather than a detriment. First, the California Construction Industry is a leader in adopting best practices for water and energy use, resulting in increasing the efficiency of water and energy use in new construction. These changes are due, in part, to the CBIA’s support of the California Green Building Standards code (CALGreen), a set of mandatory green building standards. As such, new homes are significantly more water efficient than the housing stock that they are often replacing. Not only are modern low flow plumbing fixtures and drought tolerant landscaping a mandatory part of new construction, they remove the large water wasters that can strain the ability of California Water purveyors to supply customers, often even without residents having to change their practices .
Frayji Design Group, a land surveying firm serving Sacrametno, also actively implements other strategies to assist in managing our shared water resource during this drought. The Low Impact Development strategies championed by Frayji Design Group, Inc. on new projects provides for cleaner water, better aquifer recharge, and more effective capture of water resources. While older designs often treated storm water like a nuisance to convey to the ocean as quickly as possible, safeguarding and harboring this resource results in more effective supply of water and lower demand as retained water reduces irrigation needs. The result is more fresh water available, and less water used, all in a cleaner environment.
As the California Building Industry testimony confirms, FDG’s incorporation of green building standards and low impact design into all of our projects will result in water savings even as development continues to proceed. Furthermore, even as the drought has a huge impact on the economic well-being of California in many industries, the construction industry can implement a large positive net change while benefiting the economy and alleviating the effects of a housing shortage. Frayji Design Group, specializing in construction management in Roseville, believes that the construction industry can continue to be a leading force not only despite the drought, but in light of it.
To view the original written testimony, please click here.
To view the original CBIA report, please click here.