2023-24 Northern California Projects

[FILLED] Drought & Climate Resiliency Research and Electric Vehicles Strategy

Host: City of Sacramento Department of Utilities
Region: Northern California
Openings: 1
Project Focus: Climate Adaptation, Climate Mitigation, Transportation / Mobility, Water Management, Water Policy
Skills Needed: Project Management, Research, Data Analysis, Technical Writing, Communication, Critical Thinking

Service Needs & Plans

Originally named Sacramento City Water Works, the City of Sacramento Department of Utilities (DOU) has been providing high quality water, storm drainage and wastewater services to the City of Sacramento residents since 1873. The Department has a deep commitment to the community with a sense of pride in this stewardship responsibility and is committed to making Sacramento sustainable.

The City has been moving towards sustainability and liveability through the adoption of Sustainability Master Plan in 2007, the 2030 general plan in 2009 and adopting a Climate Action Plan in 2012. DOU works in concert with other City departments, as well as numerous regional, state, and federal agencies to develop and maintain urban utility infrastructure and formulate long‐range financial plans to ensure the sustainability of the services provided.

City of Sacramento Department of Utilities (DOU) is seeking support of CivicSpark Fellows to assist the sustainability team in various capacities. We are looking for motivated and go-getter Fellows with written, communication, analytical and project management skill sets. Tasks need research and collaboration with multiple units and departments; facilitating meetings, presentations and workshops to guide discussions, identifying roadblocks and challenges as well as ability to prioritize tasks to accomplish the projects in determined timelines.

Desired qualifications range from knowledge of climate change impacts and adaptation measures, greenhouse gas inventories to general knowledge of sustainability principles, concepts and practices.

Project Description

City of Sacramento Utilities’ Climate Resiliency Research – The Department of Utilities (DOU) recognizes Sacramento faces many climate change impacts, including flooding, extreme heat and drought. These events affect the City’s management of drinking water, stormwater, drainage, and wastewater. The Fellow will work with the DOU Sustainability Team to research climate change and its impacts to the Department’s services, meet with DOU staff to document what climate responses are planned, and provide findings and potential strategies to the Department stakeholders.

City of Sacramento Utilities’ Electric Vehicle Strategy and Policy – The City of Sacramento’s Fleet Sustainability Policy prioritizes the procurement of zero-emission vehicles, as part of the City’s target to reach carbon neutrality by 2045. DOU faces unique challenges in meeting the City’s policy due to its operations. During the rainy season, our staff work on-call and extended hours to support Rain Patrol activities. Furthermore, during emergency events, such as flooding, the Department Operations Center is activated, leading to staff working in 12-hour shifts. As a result, DOU must develop strategies for assigning, operating, and charging electric vehicles during these extraordinary circumstances and address the questions:
•How can we meet the EV goals of the City currently has given our operational challenges?
•Are we planning for adequate charging stations and charging times at DOU facilities?
•Will EV’s have adaquate charge and mileage range for our 12-hour or longer shifts?
•Will charging at work be sufficient or will there be a need to charge at home? Could there possibly be some kind of allowance granted to staff to offset the cost of charging vehicles at home?
•How are other similar situation agencies handling these challenges?
The Fellow will support DOU’s Sustainability Team, DOU Logistics, the City’s Fleet Division, and other teams on associated efforts, including developing an electric vehicle policy for DOU and calculating greenhouse gas emissions. The Fellow will provide support to analyze our progress towards reducing vehicle emissions and meeting the department’s sustainability action items and goals.

Desired Skills

The ideal Fellow will have a passion for sustainability, climate action, water management and water policy; is reliable and have strong communication skills to engage with various staff and stakeholders; have intermediate knowledge of Excel; experience researching and analyzing data and organizational skills; and have proficiency with Microsoft products.

Preference on local candidates.

Organization & Community Highlights

Home to 500,000 residents and known as the River City or City of Trees, the City of Sacramento has a long-standing commitment to foster sustainability in government operations and community activities. It is said that living in Sacramento can feel like living in a park as Sacramento is the greenest city in the States and ranks third in the world on tree canopy coverage. The City is just few hours from San Francisco and Lake Tahoe with a Mediterranean climate and well known for its local farms that cater to the area chefs providing farm-to-table delights.

The City also prides itself in being one of America’s most diverse cities. With leadership from the City’s Office of Diversity and Equity, the City is committed to becoming a more diverse and equitable organization in assessing, evaluating, and building infrastructure, operations, policy, and programs that establish systemic capacity and results in workforce equity.

The Department of Utilities has more than 500 employees with a focus on resource stewardship, community involvement, employee and trust development as well as innovation in the utility field. The Department values collaboration, transparency and accountability to the community it serves. The Fellow will be situated and working with the Sustainability Analyst and the Office of the Director’s Team. The diverse and deeply committed team prides in the day to day work that we do to serve, help and educate Sacramento residents.

Remote or On-Site Placement

Hybrid

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