A Dry Summer in the Inland Empire West

Housing construction in north Fontana, showing the lack of vegetation in the Inland Empire West
By BenFrantzDale – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4055862

We’re dry again. Actually, we’ve been dry since before October 19, 2021.

Following the second driest year on record and with near record low storage in California’s largest reservoirs, Governor Gavin Newsom today issued a proclamation extending the drought emergency statewide and further urging Californians to step up their water conservation efforts as the western U.S. faces a potential third dry year.

From https://www.gov.ca.gov/2021/10/19/governor-newsom-expands-drought-emergency-statewide-urges-californians-to-redouble-water-conservation-efforts/

Now this would be the place for me to insert a picture of a dry reservoir, but I prefer statistical evidence to anecdotal evidence. And statistically, one of our local reservoirs, Lake Perris, is definitely lower than it was in prior years.

Regardless of how one feels about governmental powers, I think all of us can agree that if all people and businesses in California use the maximum amount of water, things won’t be so good.

What may IEUA cities do starting June 1?

As a result of the current drought conditions, the Metropolitan Water District has asked the Inland Empire Utilities Agency (IEUA) and five other agencies to take emergency actions effective June 1.

[T]he MWD has asked six of its member agencies to consider requiring its customers to restrict outdoor watering to just one day per week, or find other ways to conserve water, according to the large water agency that provides water to 19 million people in six counties.

From https://www.dailynews.com/2022/04/26/southern-california-water-supplier-adopts-unprecedented-rule-limiting-outdoor-irrigation/

For the record, the IEUA serves several cities in southwestern San Bernardino County.

As a regional wastewater treatment agency, the Agency provides sewage utility services to seven contracting agencies under the Chino Basin Regional Sewage Service Contract: the cities of Chino, Chino Hills, Fontana, Montclair, Ontario, Upland, and Cucamonga Valley Water District (CVWD) in the city of Rancho Cucamonga.

In addition to the contracting agencies, the Agency provides wholesale imported water from MWD to seven retail agencies: the cities of Chino, Chino Hills, Ontario, Upland, CVWD in the city of Rancho Cucamonga, Fontana Water Company in the city of Fontana, and Monte Vista Water District (MVWD) in the city of Montclair.

From https://www.ieua.org/about-us/

But the MWD isn’t the only water provider

Notice that MWD has only asked that the IEUA “consider” restrictions. Why can’t MWD mandate them? Because the MWD is not the only water provider for the agencies in question. Take the city of Upland, for example:

The City water interests are a result of either a direct water right or indirectly through its shareholder interest (entitlement) in two private mutual water companies. The City has a 93% shareholder interest in West End Consolidated Water Company (WECWco.). The water received from WECWCo. is local groundwater. The City has a 68% shareholder interest in San Antonio Water Company (SAW Co.). Both local groundwater and surface water from San Antonio Canyon is provided by SAW Co. San Antonio canyon surface water supply is subject to availability and is closely tied to rain and snowpack. This local surface is treated at the City’s San Antonio Water Treatment Plant. In addition to the local surface and groundwater supplies, the City invested and owns 22% interest in an 81 million gallon imported water treatment plant, Water Facilities Authority (WFA-JPA), Agua de Lejos located on Benson Avenue north of 17th Street. The WFA water treatment plant receives Northern California State Project imported water from Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) through Inland Empire Utilities Agency (IEUA) our MWD member agency. In 2013, IEUA completed regional pipeline facilities and began delivering recycled water. Recycled water is predominantly available in the southeastern sector of the City and is mostly used for large landscape irrigation areas, such as the Upland Hill Country Club Golf Course, City Parks, several school grounds and the Euclid Avenue median.

From https://www.uplandca.gov/water

Cities will require you NOT to water, except when cities require you TO water

As you can see, water rights can get a bit complicated. Especially when a city such as Upland threatens to fine a resident for NOT watering a lawn, as occurred in 2014.

Fernand Bogman stopped watering his grass in an effort to preserve water given current drought conditions.

“Under the current circumstances, I don’t believe that that is acceptable that we waste water,” Bogman told Goldberg.

The situation unfolded a few weeks back after Bogman was told a neighbor complained about his yard to the city.

That phone call led city officials to demand that he keep his grass green.

From https://www.cbsnews.com/losangeles/news/upland-man-could-face-steep-fines-for-allegedly-failing-to-water-lawn/

The charges were eventually dropped in 2015.

Anyway, if you live in one of the named cities, or in any city in California, be sure to keep up with your local city to see if water restrictions will affect you.

Volvo LIGHTS heavy duty electric truck initiatives in Fontana, Ontario, and Chino

I recently learned that Bill Fries passed away earlier this month. You may not recognize his name, but people of a certain age are very familiar with his voice.

Fries, an advertising executive, provided the voice of the character “C.W. McCall” in the 1970s song “Convoy,” which dealt with truckers using citizens band (CB) radio to communicate with each other about driving conditions and “smokeys” (police officers enforcing the then-universal 55 mph speed limit). The music was provided by Chip Davis, famous today for Mannheim Steamroller.

Even today, truckers are an essential part of goods distribution in the United States.

Across the United States, more than 70% of all goods used in our daily lives—from food to manufactured products—are transported to our stores and homes by trucks. As the nation’s demand for goods continues to reach record levels, our cities are facing an increase in congestion, noise, and air pollution.

From https://www.lightsproject.com/

The statement on trucking above was taken from the Volvo LIGHTS website. LIGHTS is an acronym for Low Impact Green Heavy Transport Solutions, where “Low Impact” aims to reduce impacts on congestion, noise, and air pollution.

How? Via electricity. Specifically, via Volvo’s VNR Electric truck.

Volvo VNR Electric battery configuration. From https://www.volvotrucks.us/trucks/vnr-electric/

Regardless of how you feel about the good and bad points of fossil fuels, battery power, solar power, nuclear power, coal power, etc., battery power is a part of our transportation solutions. The Volvo LIGHTS project lists five community benefits from using electric trucks. All five are listed here, but I’m only going to highlight one of them.

Less Congestion from being able to make deliveries at night with much quieter truck engines

From https://www.lightsproject.com/community-benefits/

This particular benefit addresses both congestion and noise, and the other four benefits address these two impacts as well as the impact of air pollution.

Volvo LIGHTS is performing several proofs of concept, three of which are taking place in the Inland Empire.

Fontana (TEC Equipment)

From Volvo LIGHTS (additional details here, including the vehicles deployed and the charging infrastructure):

TEC Equipment owns the West Coast’s largest network of full service, heavy-duty truck dealerships. Through the Volvo LIGHTS project, they introduced a comprehensive sales and service strategy for battery electric trucks and provided fleet operators the opportunity to lease battery electric trucks from TEC Equipment for real-world trials.

In August 2021, TEC Equipment was named Volvo Trucks’ first EV Certified Dealer in North America, indicating that their maintenance and repair crew at their Fontana dealership is fully trained and equipped to meet the service needs of fleets operating these advanced zero-emission trucks.

Back in 2020, TEC Equipment commented on the initiative on its website:

“We are proud that our Fontana dealership will be first in in North America to pilot the Volvo VNR Electric model,” said David Thompson, president and CEO of TEC Equipment. “Through the Volvo LIGHTS project, we are gaining valuable hands-on experience for our drivers and maintenance staff to ensure that we are well prepared to support the widescale deployment of these advanced, zero-emission trucks throughout the Southern California freight corridor.”

Ontario (Dependable Supply Chain Services)

From Volvo LIGHTS (additional details here):

Dependable is demonstrating the ability for battery electric trucks and equipment to successfully transport goods in its daily routes, as well as at its warehouse facilities. To ensure the ongoing reliability of the trucks and maximize uptime, DHE is road testing Volvo’s remote diagnostic onboard technology, which will alert TEC Equipment in advance when its battery electric trucks need maintenance.

The onsite smart chargers use Greenlots’ cloud software to integrate with Volvo’s truck telematics to balance the needs of the vehicle, facility, and utility grid. To further mitigate grid impacts and energy costs, DHE also integrated onsite solar panels and hopes to garner the benefits of second-life batteries.

In this Vimeo, Dependable’s drivers identity other benefits of electric trucks, including an increased ability to hear emergency vehicles, as well as a decrease in smelly fuel-saturated clothes after your shift is over.

Incidentally, the references to “Greenlots” on the Volvo LIGHTS website for Dependable (and for NFI, below) are outdated. Shell acquired Greenlots in 2019, which now does business as Shell Recharge Solutions. Shell isn’t putting all of its eggs in the fossil fuels basket.

Chino (NFI Industries)

From Volvo LIGHTS (additional details here):

NFI is demonstrating the ability for battery electric trucks and equipment to successfully transport goods in its daily routes, as well as at its warehouse facilities. Having confidence that the trucks can reliably complete their routes was critical for NFI. Their fleets are road testing Volvo’s self-learning driveline control algorithms enabling drivers to optimize energy usage and range.

The onsite smart chargers use Greenlots’ cloud software to integrate with Volvo’s truck telematics to balance the needs of the vehicle, facility, and utility grid. To further mitigate grid impacts and energy costs, NFI continues to explore the viability of onsite solar panels.

NFI is working with Volvo, Daimler, and others on an ambitious project to “[o]perate the first 100% zero-emission drayage fleet in the U.S. with the deployment of 60 battery-electric tractors.” NFI wants to achieve this by 2023.

What does this mean?

These and other initiatives allow trucking companies to realize the benefits described above, from improved distribution to nicer smelling uniforms. The initiatives also allow flexibility should our diesel supplies be threatened.

And the Inland Empire, with its extensive warehousing footprint, provides an ideal proving ground to see whether these technologies will work in practice.

But I don’t know that electric trucks will give us any good songs.

From https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3VN54M1OXA