: Daily Acts

Discussion Forum

Education and Government Engagement

By Global Women's Water Initiative Posted on Tue 20 Aug 2013, almost 9 years ago

Hi Amber

Welcome! I'm so excited to see a local organization apply for membership! I'm actually a member of Greywater Action with Laura, Andrea and the crew! I've also studied Permaculture at OAEC and RDI with Brock, Erik, Penny and that crew.

I'd love to know more about your government engagement. I know that down here in the Bay, some cities/counties are easier to work with than others in terms of getting buy-in, certification for some systems like branch drain, offering incentives to homeowners etc... What we've found is that some gov't officials are not well-versed in the new code and how integrating greywater systems can be safe and efficient. Can you tell me how/if you've been able to work with your local government and if so, how were you able to get them engaged?

Thanks again! I'm thrilled to see you here!


Education and Government Engagement

By Daily Acts Posted on Wed 21 Aug 2013, almost 9 years ago

Hi Gemma - Thank you so much for the warm welcome! I am going to forward your questions to Trathen our ED and our program managers Melinda Kelley and Gretchen Schubeck, as I am more on the operations than the programs side and those folks are far more versed in local agency engagement than I.

I do know that we have presentations and other tools available to help start and shape the conversation which I am certain we are happy to share. Most of our work with local governments ties directly to their goals for citizen outreach and reductions in residential water use. That said, if you know what their goals are in regards to community education and water resource management, you can support them in seeing the ways in which these solutions can achieve their goals. Speaking to their interests is always a great way to get your foot in the door!

Again, I will make sure and get your questions to the appropriate staff for more in depth information.

Thank you so much for reaching out, Gemma. Spreading these models is one of our primary goals and participating in the exchange seems like a perfect way to do just that.

I will be back in touch soon with more info.


Education and Government Engagement

By Daily Acts Posted on Sat 09 Nov 2013, over 8 years ago

Hi Gemma,

It’s great to connect! In addition to our other folks in common, I’ve known Melinda for years. Huge apologies to you and other reviewers for our delay in answering questions. We got a bit hung up in communications on the process, a significant part of which was because we have been hiring and onboarding four people on a seven person team in the last few months. But we are on it now!

So to answer your question, what you bring up in regards to officials not being well versed and the associated inflation of concerns has been one of the biggest barriers. Having installed the first permitted household greywater system in Sonoma County myself seven years ago, I am acutely aware of some of the challenges. Our success was due in large part to building good relationships with local officials, doing a lot of listening and then addressing concerns by showing other successful models such as the permitted greywater system at the Berkeley Eco House.

Before this, six years of community education and engagement built an active community of supporters, including many sustainability experts. This is core to our model, which is about highlighting, strengthening and connecting sustainability leaders and models to grow more of them. From this base, we generated a great deal of media attention and interest from municipalities. Especially with new state water conservation mandates and a recognized need due to recent droughts. Additionally, the cities that we partner with were either missing the sustainability skills or staff capacity as well as the ability to actively engage citizens the way a community-based organization can. Since then, we’ve spent the last seven years collaborating with municipalities on a number of innovative water conservation and reuse programs.

Our ability to mobilize citizens and a diversity of partners, while garnering significant media attention and accomplishing big goals, has increased the recognition of the need and importance of these solutions as well as the diversity of beneficial outcomes. Why just save water when you can save water and energy, grow food, habitat and community and have a REALLY good time doing so? Just like the permaculture gardens we model our programs after, when you get the right elements in place; the whole system goes pop and surges with vitality. True in the garden, true in the community.

In the last several months, I’ve done presentations ranging from the Northern California Regional Resilience Convergence to the Watersmart Urban Water Efficiency Tradeshow in Las Vegas, which is the largest of its kind in the world, and the result is increasingly the same. Citizens, non-profit and municipal leaders are really starting to understand the power of these community-based, nature-inspired models and solutions and they are ready for them. That’s why we are really excited to spend more time evaluating and honing our models, while continuing the effort of sharing best practices with others to support the establishment of greater numbers of effective, non-profit and municipal partnerships.

While we’ve been slow to start, we know that being a part of BPN will be a huge aid to us in evaluating and improving these offerings. We’ve had some good success, but have a great deal to learn and improve upon.

Thanks so much,

Your profile needs beefing up

By Bank-On-Rain Posted on Thu 15 Aug 2013, almost 9 years ago

Dear Daily Acts,

Your profile submission gives us very little real information on which to evaluate your organization. By "greywater systems" you have installed, please provide specifics -- greywater used for toilet flushing, landscape/garden watering or just infiltration?

Do you have a website, project summaries, etc.?

We are looking forward to more info.


Your profile needs beefing up

By Daily Acts Posted on Thu 15 Aug 2013, almost 9 years ago

Thank you for the feedback Mike. Being new to the system I think I misunderstood the purpose of the profile. Thank you for the guidance. I will definitely give it some attention in the coming days. Amber

Amber Faur
Operations Manager

Your profile needs beefing up

By Bank-On-Rain Posted on Thu 15 Aug 2013, almost 9 years ago

Hi Amber,

The Peer Water Exchange is a very different organiizarion from any others I have come across. It has an amazing premise -- open exchange between members and full disclosure in a publically accessable format makes for better projects. This is a refreshing change from most of the non-profit community and permits each PWX member to benefit from the experience of the group to improve efficiency and effectivness of each project while providing the funding organizations who participate the project oversight and metrics unavailabe from most implementers. The forum requires a different approach. Funding proposals are reviewed by organizations doing similar projects, but rather than acting like competitors, the review process is more of an information exchange resulting in continually improving applications. This process may not be comfortable to all, so we need to get to know each other beyond the standard website stuff.

Joining PWX does require a continuing level of effort from all members but in our experience, these efforts a well worth the value gained in the shared knowledge of the other members.

Welcome to the deep end of the pool. Jump in and you'll find that the water is fine.

Best regards and welcome to the process,

Your profile needs beefing up

By Daily Acts Posted on Wed 21 Aug 2013, almost 9 years ago

Thanks again for the feedback Mike. I added a bit more in depth information to our profile and will continue to do so in the coming weeks. This is a really exciting opportunity for us as refining and sharing our models is a priority for Daily Acts. We welcome the opportunity for feedback and look forward to participating!

Need and goals

By Peer Water Exchange Posted on Sat 17 Aug 2013, almost 9 years ago

Hi Trathen,

Have gone thru your profile and part of the video you shared.

Question about need and goals, regarding water primarily. What is the need perceived by local leaders and residents to conserve and reuse water? What is their commitment?

While you work on small daily acts, what would some goals be: could we reduce consumption by 25% or 50%? What would sustainability look like in some number range?


ps: i have spent nearly a decade in the bay area working on sustainability with organizations like The Natural Step and Redefining Progress, so was very plugged in till a couple of years ago.

Need and goals

By Daily Acts Posted on Sat 09 Nov 2013, over 8 years ago

Hi Rajesh,

Over the last decade, there has been a convergence of efforts in Sonoma County by Daily Acts and partner organizations to raise awareness on water and related sustainability issues. We stand on the shoulders of innovative leaders such as Occidental Arts and Ecology Center, the Sonoma County Water Agency, the City of Santa Rosa and many others. With significant awareness raising and action on many fronts including climate modeling, watershed and salmon habitat restoration and urban turf reduction programs, the need to conserve and reuse water, and how this fits in the larger picture of having healthy and sustainable communities, has increased greatly in recent years. In addition, the increased frequency of extreme weather events and drought conditions, combined with state water conservation mandates, have amplified the awareness and motivation to conserve and reuse water even further.

The commitment of local leaders and residents to conserve and reuse water is significant. As part of our work with municipalities on water reuse and conservation over the last 7 years, the cities of Petaluma and Cotati, the town of Windsor and the Sonoma County Water Agency have partnered with us on several very innovative and successful efforts providing financial, staff and in-kind support including the Mulch Madness Program, Efficiency Pays, 100 Greywater Systems Challenge and the 350 Home & Garden Challenge). In addition to working alongside our municipal partners, Daily Acts also supports businesses, schools, churches and non-profit leaders in their efforts to conserve and reuse water.

There is a rapidly growing and collaborative culture of innovation and adaptation occurring on efforts ranging from more ecological practices to turf transformation, greywater reuse and supporting large scale community mobilizations that inspire thousands of citizens to take action to create more water-wise models in homes, gardens and neighborhoods. Daily Acts has led the transformation of water-thirsty, turf landscapes at libraries, police and fire stations, community centers, even City Hall in Petaluma. Just the City Hall lawn transformation has resulted in water savings to the City of Petaluma of 1.3 million gallons a year. Additionally there are stormwater, rain catchment and food growing features at this model site.

Daily Acts is also witnessing the same commitment on the citizen front. With 12 years of on the ground action and education and an emphasis on collaboration and relationship building, we have a very engaged community and are actually reaching a tipping point in awareness and action around aspects of water conservation and reuse such as turf transformation and greywater.

This is a great question that we would like to dig deeper into ourselves. Though in broad terms, we are creating and supporting home and garden models that use 50-80% less water and other resources while growing food, medicine, habitat and community, even transforming public policy and programs like with our efforts on greywater. One of our model home and garden sites is at about 50% water use of the average home for Sonoma County. Making this more impressive is that there are actually two units on the site and they are growing 500 – 1,000 pounds of food per year. Our goal is to take these models and solutions to scale. Just in the four years since we’ve started partnering with the City of Petaluma, they have provided free resources to sheet mulch 500 lawns saving over 20 million gallons of water a year, while also building top soil instead of removing the turf which is a common practice in municipal “Cash for Grass” programs. We have models that show we can reduce water use 50% or more while increasing food, habitat, beauty, conviviality and community engagement.

Thanks so much,


Need and goals

By Bank-On-Rain Posted on Sun 10 Nov 2013, over 8 years ago


It appears that your application revue period has lapsed (not surprising if it takes 3 months to respond to questions). We are unable to rate you at this time.

Mike Williamson

Need and goals

By Daily Acts Posted on Tue 12 Nov 2013, over 8 years ago

Hi Mike,

Apologies for the extreme tardiness. Between a couple of misunderstandings and onboarding 4 new people on a 7 person team, we definitely dropped the ball on communications here. We met with Rajesh last week, who asked us to finish up the questions this week.

So please let us know if there are any further questions and I promise a much quicker response from our team!


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