In the News

Letters to the Editor: Desal Talk a Waste

By Aldo Giacchino, Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz Weekly, 08/19/2009

Let us put the desal process in the right context. The message from the Water Districts ("Desal and the Public Process,"Posts, Aug. 5) completely sidesteps the issue of adapting ourselves to a changed climate condition.

The state has just issued the 2009 Climate Adaptation Strategy Report, which summarizes the tremendous cost of global warming to all of us here at home. The report makes it clear that we must reduce dramatically greenhouse gases and we must take all steps possible to avoid any new activities that make the problem worse. So Reduce and Avoid are the two imperatives that form the core of the strategy.

But instead of Reduce and Avoid, the solons who run our water agencies are proposing just the opposite--increase water supply through desalination. The desalination process consumes a huge amount of electricity to run the sea water through the filters, to pump the filtered water to the treatment center, to pump the water all the way from Santa Cruz to Soquel, and pump all the brine residue from the desalination process to the sewage treatment plant and then out to the ocean. A huge amount of electricity will be used to do all this filtering and pumping, and the creation of the necessary electricity will create more greenhouse gases. This is not Reduce and Avoid, it is just the opposite.

Even though we are in the third year of drought, we are living quite happily with the current mandatory conservation measures that have reduced consumption by over 15 percent without causing any appreciable difficulty on anyone. So much more conservation is possible without significantly harming anyone. Conserved water is free water. There is no cost to it and it fits the mandate to Reduce and Avoid further damage to our environment and all the costs associated with that damage. If we do not follow the Reduce and Avoid path, we will have to bear the huge cost increase of desal plus the increased cost of environmental damage.

Let's get with the program, Santa Cruz and Soquel Water Districts. Stop wasting huge sums on a plan that runs counter to the state's strategy and that will ultimately run into huge popular opposition.

© 2008-2013 scwd2 Desalination Program, All rights reserved.