Oct 3 2014
The San Diego region continues to treat, use once and dump over 200 million
gallons a day of water into the ocean. Desalination and potable
recycling essentially use the same process, but there is no brine left from
potable recycling. It is environmentally friendly, yet our water policy
makers shy away from even discussing it except in vague terms much like
parents do with children when pressed for an answer. ”Yes, good idea, we’ll
think about it. ” Those politicians who have sold their soul to the $7.5
billion water bond may have a rude awakening when the voters turn it down,
and there are few options left except potable recycling.
Yesterday I attended a presentation at the Rotary luncheon at Liberty
Station by the San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA) and the City of San
Diego titled, Beyond a Drought: Water Reliability for the San Diego
Region. The moderator was Maureen Stapleton, General Manager, SDCWA; Dennis
Cushman, Assistant GM, SDCWA; Peter MacLaggan, VP Poseidon Resources and
Halla Razak, Director of Public Utilities, City of San Diego.
The usual statistics were presented, most of them self-serving, except for
Mr. MacLaggan who provided an update on the construction of the Carlsbad
desal facility with a drone fly-over. The others boasted about cutting water
consumption in the region by 200,000 acre-feet since 1991, but did not give
supporting statistics such as the drop in farm acreage and the introduction
of water saving fixtures which are the two real reasons for the decrease.
Acreage dropped due to increasing water pricing. The market really works.
The bottom line is the San Diego Region is still decades away from mitigating heavy
reliance on imported water.
Surprisingly there was little discussion about Proposition One, the water
bond that is coming up for a vote on November 4th.
The Rotary program director would have been better served to have invited
Marco Gonzalez to provide the counterpoint view of the regions water
issues. Having heard essentially the same information presented in other
venues there was little opposition in the Q & A that followed the
presentation. It is always thus. Essentially the residential water user has
no seat at the table when water policy issues are discussed by the 26 water
agencies that make up the SDCWA. Questions like, “you say by 2035 the water
purification facility will be providing a third of the water needed, but it
only appears to be a fraction of that. Why?“ And “why is the water
purification facility decades away from producing a meaningful supply?”
When a water monopoly is the only game in town with no competition, what
else should we expect? It is a quasi-government water store where the owners
dictate the pricing, the supply and the planning. A truly socialist
enterprise that leaves the residential water users at the sole discretion of
the bureaucrats who run the store. This is further complicated by the
favoritism, cronyism and nepotism of the agricultural lobby that consumes
eighty percent of the fresh water consumed in California.
Unfortunately for the average water using citizen, change may only occur
when there is a major natural disaster such that the toilets dont flush and
the taps are dry. Until then we continue to flush over seventy three
trillion gallons of water into the ocean a year after having treated it to
drinking water quality and using it once. That is 9.7 trillion five minute
showers every year. And the water officials scold us for taking long
showers. Give me a break!
By Milt Burgess • Blog • 0 • Tags: augmentation, California Aqueduct, Colorado River, dry centuries, El Nino, La Nina, MWD, precipitation, purification, rainfall, residential water user, State Water Project, water rate hike, water Storage, wet centuries