In the News

Letter to the Editor

Santa Cruz Sentinel, 2/3/11

Desal not needed with lower water demand

In his Jan. 30 piece, Mike Rotkin contested our factual representation of the issues surrounding desalination. The most important disagreement is over the need for the desalination plant. Rotkin's facts date from 2003, when the Integrated Water Plan predicted that a worst-case drought in 2010 would require summer curtailments of 39 percent. That figure was based on an estimated water demand in 2010 of 4.8 billion gallons. Actual demand in 2008 was much lower -- 3.6 billion gallons, the figure the Water Department now uses as representing current demand. In 2009 and 2010, use was even lower. Current demand is only 6.5 percent more than what our water supply would be in a worst-case year. This achievement of lowering water demand has resulted in far greater water savings than could be provided by a costly desalination plant. Next, Santa Cruz needs a comprehensive solution package that integrates sound supply preservation and demand reduction measures. See our "Open letter to Mike Rotkin" at

Paul Gratz, David Stearns and Rick Longinotti, Santa Cruz

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