In the News

Desalination And The Public Process

Gary Patton, KUSP Land Use Report, Monday, 11/25/13

The Santa Cruz City Council is meeting tomorrow evening, to consider the issue of water supply planning. This meeting follows up on the Council’s earlier indication that it would like to “reset” the community discussion on this topic. For the last five years, the Council has been single-mindedly pursuing the construction of a desalination plant, as a way to address the City’s very real water supply problems. Once the comment period on the desalination plant EIR closed, it became clear to the Council (which apparently hadn’t gotten this message before) that the public, and all of the most significant “responsible agencies,” strongly favor an exploration of “alternatives” to desalination.

In my environmental attorney role, I am representing the Community Water Coalition, a group that has taken just that position. The most outspoken voice for a consideration of alternatives, though, has been the group Desal Alternatives, which drafted and qualified an initiative measure that will allow the voters to decide what they think. The initiative passed overwhelmingly within the City of Santa Cruz.

The City Manager is proposing that the Council “reset” community engagement in the water supply discussion by forming a “blue ribbon” committee heavily tilted towards groups and interests that support desalination. If you would like to weigh in on this topic, check the links at and plan to attend that Council meeting tomorrow evening.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Santa Cruz City Council Agenda, November 26, 2013

City Manager’s Report on “Community Engagement For Drought Solutions”

Public Correspondence on “Community Engagement” Issue

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