In the News

Letter to the Editor

Learn the facts on desal

Santa Cruz Sentinel 2/24/13

In his Feb. 16 letter, Rick Longinotti mistakenly characterizes Santa Cruz Water Department chief Bill Kocher's failure to develop a Plan B to having a desalination plant as a "failure to consider alternatives. Longinotti is wrong. Kocher, our department engineers, our city Water Commission and our City Council have considered, and continue to consider, alternatives to desalination, in hopes there might be an alternative, or combination of alternatives, that would provide a safe, sufficient and reliable water supply without building a desalination plant. Unfortunately, no combination has been found sufficient and reliable enough to meet our supply needs during severe droughts. Kocher is just being honest about it.

The draft EIR, which will be published in upcoming months, will again evaluate alternatives. Longinotti echoes former Water Department employee Jim Bentley's question, "Do you expect the public to accept that there are no other options and this [desal] is their only choice?" Personally, I expect our citizens, who will decide yes or no on desal, to take the time to educate themselves about this critical decision. If they do, I believe they will go through a process similar to my own -- initially ignorant and skeptical about the need for desal, but as I became educated, reluctantly recognizing that if we want a sufficient and reliable water supply, desalination is a necessary part of our water supply portfolio. I hope our citizens will pay less attention to the opinions stated in letters to the editor, and start learning the facts. The Desalination Task Force website, www.scwd2desal.org is the place to start.

David Green Baskin, vice chair, Santa Cruz City Water Commission

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