For over four years, California has been in the midst of a historic drought. Wildfires, diminishing water supplies, and punishing setbacks across numerous sectors of the economy are only some of the consequences. And there are no sign of things letting up.
Californians though, in communities across the state, are beginning to adapt to what may be the new normal. As the state continues to grow, community developers are increasingly considering factors such as clean energy and water scarcity when drawing up plans. What makes these new developments so exciting is that they are cropping up in unexpected places. Rural towns now see new homes equipped with the latest in solar technology, native and drought resistant yards, and grey water treatment capabilities.
As more and more of these net-zero communities pop up across the state, even more ambitious measures may be seen—such as sourcing local building materials. Like all new paradigm shifts, these eco-communities require the bold direction of business, sustainability, and municipal leaders to become a reality. Through collaboration, and a bold action plan, these climate actions are becoming climate success stories.
The drought in California has gone on so long, and is so severe, that it's beginning to change the way people are designing residential communities — in unexpected ways, and unexpected places.
Planning is under way, for instance, for one of the first eco-friendly communities in California's predominantly agricultural Central Valley.
The site is in the town of Reedley, 30 miles southeast of Fresno.
There were a number of factors that distinguished Reedley, says Curt Johansen, the San Francisco developer who's spearheading the project.
It's home to a community college and a thriving downtown, and it recently said no to Wal-Mart building in the town.
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