Monsoon - San Francisco premiere

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There is still “low hanging fruit” when it comes to using our water better, said a civil engineer from the East Bay M.U.D at the San Francisco premiere of Monsoon.

More than 60 people attended the screening, held last night (11.03) at the Ninth Street Independent Film Center as part of the 2015 Bay Area Science Festival.

Alice Towey, from the East Bay Municipal Utility District’s Resources Planning Division, answered audience questions after the film, which charts the course of the monsoon season through India.

Monsoon_screening_photo.jpgShe spoke about the preparations her team are making in anticipation of this winter’s potential El Niño.

Asked if we are as reliant on El Niño as India is on the monsoon, Towey said it was “important”. “We have more short dramatic bursts rather than 35ft of rain,” she explained.

“There's a lot of low-hanging fruit in California,” said Towey, when asked if the solution to drought might be to bring water in from other states. “Just fixing leaking pipes here will help. There’s a lot of investment into repairing aqueducts to make those larger pipes more stable.

“The key word for us is diversification. I’m a big believer in recycled water – which is waste water treated to a high level. Desalination is very energy intensive and expensive. We need to think long-term.”

We could be smarter with how we use our water, says Towey: “It doesn’t make sense for us to be watering lawns with potable water for example.”

Rachel Caplan, the festival’s founder and CEO, said: “We’re really grateful to Alice for sharing her expertise. Judging by the audience’s questions, there’s a huge appetite for more information about what can be done to make sure we’re getting the most out of the water we use.

“What we saw in Monsooon is the sheer power that water has – not just in its physical ability to destroy homes, but also in its effect on the whole country’s economy. Thank you to everyone who came and took part in the incredibly interesting discussion.”

Have you got an idea of how we could be using our water better or were you inspired by Monsoon?

Our Climate Action Film Contest is an opportunity to win cash prizes and have your own film shown at the 6th San Francisco Green Film Festival. We’re looking for short films – less than three minutes – about how you’re making the city a greener place.

The contest is open to everyone. It is free to enter and there are no restrictions on style or genre, when the work was made, or how many entries you may submit. You don’t need to be a professional filmmaker – wherever you are, we want to hear your climate action story. Fill out an Entry Form here.