Climate change is causing more severe droughts and floods, threatening local water supplies. San José has experienced persistent drought, leading to reduced water supply and increased costs. To address this, the City implemented the “Climate Smart San José” strategy to reduce water consumption, enhance reuse and recycling efforts, and support legislative measures. San José will collaborate with FUSE to develop a city-wide water strategy, which involves understanding supply, demand, and governance, researching successful programs, building a “Water Team” with stakeholders, and defining strategic water sustainability priorities. This initiative aims to create a sustainable and climate-smart city by reducing and improving water use.

Starting in May 2023, a FUSE Executive Fellow will work to address San José’s water resource challenges by defining strategic priorities for sustainable water use practices. The Executive Fellow will conduct a listening tour to assess water resources, research successful water strategies, and form a multi-agency “Water Team” for collaborative decision-making. This team will focus on improving water quality, reducing reliance on imported water, and ensuring equitable access for all residents, particularly low-wealth communities and communities of color. By April 2024, the Executive Fellow will have conducted the listening tour, established the Water Team, and defined strategic priorities for sustainable water management, including identifying funding opportunities and partnerships for successful program implementation.