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Letters to the Editor

Good Times, 4/27/11

Rotkin is Off Base on Desal

Thanks for your excellent article on the League of Women Voters’ Desalination Debate. Mike Rotkin’s claim that city studies show curtailing water use more than 15 percent would result in “business failures and health and sanitation problems in individual homes” is way off base. He simply needs to review the city’s 2009 Water Shortage Contingency Plan, which details allocation for different levels of water shortage.

At 25 percent shortage, residences would need to meet a goal of 73 perent of normal year water use. The goal for businesses would be 92 percent of normal use, the goal for the two golf courses would be 51 percent of normal use, and the goal for coast agriculture would be 90% of normal use.

If we were to have a 50 percent water shortage, residences would need to meet a goal of 48 percent of normal year water use. The goal for businesses would be 70 percent of normal use, the goal for the two golf courses would be 20 percent of normal use, and the goal for coast agriculture would be 67 perecent of normal use. The goals would be met through rationing, signage in commercial buildings, and reduction of landscape/golf course/agriculture account water budgets.

The 2009 Water Shortage Contingency Plan also substantiates Rick Longinotti’s claim that a worst-case drought actually has occurred only once in the last 90 years. The Plan’s graph of annual stream discharges from the San Lorenzo River for the years 1921-2007 shows that the drought of 1977-78 was the most extreme water shortage in the 90 years for which there is data.

City representatives should show respect for the public by engaging in fact-based discussions on this issue.

Karin Grobe
Santa Cruz

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