When it comes to water, we are living in a drought of reason and drowning in distortion. With the help of our politicans and the media, we have whipped the public into a furor ready to approve agricultural bailouts, build tunnels, and blight our coast with desalination plants. But don’t try to bring up facts. ”Dam the facts, I have an opinion,” is the mantra of the day.
OK, so it just may be the driest year on record. What of it? Should we panic and do something desperate or remain calm and do something rational. In lieu of watching this slow train wreck, here are a few of my suggestions:
1. Acknowledge that we live in a desert and plant accordingly. Nothing would make us rip out our lawns faster than tiered water rates. How long must we procrastinate before they are implemented.
2. Come on folks in Central and Northern California, get those water meters installed. It’s hard to take you seriously when you pump your wells dry and refuse to meter your water.
The Orange County Water District is trying to find ways to make Poseidon easier to swallow. The OCWD is thinking about financing the billion dollars it will take to make this happen. That means every rate payer will be on the hook for that. They are suggesting that the desalination plant can run at night. Can you imagine the noise that will effect the residents and the wetlands all night long.
Today’s Register has an article that is trying to show OCWD in the best way possible. We must not be fooled. While the article gives some pros and a few cons, it is definitely slanted to pro Poseidon. As rate payers, we should be very concerned about becoming financially liable and about the noise the night time running would cause.
Here is an excerpt.
“Agency ponders ways to lower cost of desalinated water
OCWD report examines options in case it contract with Poseidon Water
by Jaimee Lynn Fletcher, staff writer. Mike Reicher contributed to report.
Financing the 50 million-gallons-a-day desalination project in Huntington Beach, tapping into new technology and running operations at night to avoid high energy costs are some of the options the Orange County Water District is considering to lower the cost of desalinated water should the agency decide to contract with Poseidon Resources.
I want to thank R4RD and the community for all your hard work. While you probably don’t know it, the decision yesterday put a black cloud over similar desal proposals from Monterey to San Diego.
Here’s a couple of “big picture” thoughts from Joe Geever;
- water supply managers often plan around an “average” rainfall. But our rainfall pattern is such that, if you take almost any 10 year period, eight of the ten years will be below average (hence the lyrics, “it never rains in California, but man it pours”). Predicting supply and demand on an “average rainfall” is a total misunderstanding of what “averages” represent — it’s a mathematical error.
- wet and dry periods in the West are as predictable as the sun coming up. If we don’t properly plan for dry periods, then a drought is a “man-made disaster.” We should have learned that during the “Dust Bowl” — arguably this country’s worst “natural disaster.” (And not the same circumstance as we have now). But we didn’t. We learned to pump groundwater — and we’ve nearly destroyed the Ogalalla Aquifer by continuing to irrigate “farmland” in what is really a dry “grassland” — a place once known as “No Man’s Land.”
- this weather pattern will get more dramatic as the climate changes.
- natural watersheds once evened out the wet and dry periods. Watersheds capture rain and let it percolate into the ground. This natural process recharges groundwater basins, mitigates floods, and maintains in-stream flows even when it gets dry. But natural watersheds in this region have been dramatically altered by impervious surfaces.
So, given these pretty indisputable facts, is OCWD engaged in proper planning for the long-term?
1. conservation (demand reduction) should be the number one priority.
OCWD grade: C-
Join with H2OC Over Watering is Out campaign and check your sprinklers. Are you watering the street?
We don’t need it! Ocean desalination:
…is highly energy intensive and expensive,
…and will hinder other water supply options that are less costly and better for the environment, such as water conservation, wastewater recycling, and stormwater harvesting.
The Poseidon proposal has not even gotten approval from local and regional water agencies. None have committed to purchasing Poseidon’s water.
We don’t want it!
The Poseidon project uses outdated and environmentally harmful technology that: (more…)