For Immediate Release: May 5, 2020

SMUD releases mapping tool that identifies areas in need based upon key indicators

SMUD released a new mapping tool that uses collective data to identify areas in the region most in need. The Sustainable Communities Resource Priorities Needs Map provides key data that will help inform resource allocation and reduce growing economic disparity in Sacramento County.

This interactive tool is more important now than ever given the limited resource capacity caused by the recent pandemic. Studies show the current pandemic is having a disproportionate impact on under-resourced communities. This tool provides important data needed to identify and positively impact communities of concern.

“The tool helps to identify key areas that are lacking in access to education, healthcare, employment and at high risk of environmental factors,” said SMUD CEO and General Manager Arlen Orchard. “This tool will help optimize our efforts in neighborhoods that are most in need so we can collectively create healthy, more sustainable communities.”

SMUD worked in partnership with UC Davis, Sacramento Metro Air Quality Management District, Sacramento Area Council of Governments, and a variety of local agencies and non-profits to ensure its collective benefit in areas of concern. The interactive map relies on a collection of data from various sources including:

  1. Opportunity Zones: Established in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017: Provides tax incentives for investment in designated census tracts to support new investments in environmental justice, sustainability, climate change and affordable housing.
  2. Promise Zone Designation Data: Developed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development: Among the 127,000 residents, 34 percent are living in poverty, 19 percent are unemployed and 63 percent of third graders are reading below grade level.
  3. SB 535 Disadvantaged Communities Data: Aimed at improving public health, quality of life and economic opportunity, while reducing pollution in communities most in need.
  4. Federal Poverty Level Data: Zip codes within Sacramento County where 25 percent are below the federal poverty line.
  5. Designated Medically Underserved Areas: That have too few primary care providers, high infant mortality, high poverty or a high elderly population.
  6. Healthy Sacramento Coalition Health Equity Index: Identified 15 zip codes that have high rates of poor health outcomes.
  7. Vulnerable Communities Climate Change Index: Created by researchers at the Pacific Institute to understand social vulnerability to climate change, such as natural disasters or increased heat stress.
  8. CalEnviroScreen 3.0 Environmental Justice Map: Identifies communities by census tract that are disproportionately burdened by, and vulnerable to, multiple sources of pollution.

Additionally, the map includes a number of other GIS layers including education, tree canopy, EV charging, food deserts, and public transportation information in order to maximize and improve the equity of regional decision-making. The map is regularly monitored and interactive in a manner that allows customized searching and evaluation. The interactive storyboard format of the map allows for each section to reveal a different view of a specific map layer while explaining the nature of the vulnerability being examined.

SMUD will leverage the mapping tool to improve decision-making as it relates to resource allocation, while empowering community members to take an active role in providing positive impact in their communities. The information will be used to help inform regional strategies including federal grant funding opportunities.

 About SMUD

As the nation’s sixth-largest community-owned electric service provider, SMUD has been providing low-cost, reliable electricity for almost 75 years to Sacramento County (and small adjoining portions of Placer and Yolo Counties). SMUD is a recognized industry leader and award winner for its innovative energy efficiency programs, renewable power technologies, and for its sustainable solutions for a healthier environment. SMUD’s energy is about 50 percent carbon-free and is on track to deliver 100 percent net-zero carbon electricity by 2040, ahead of California’s 2045 goal.