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Water Talks

water tapSANTA CRUZ > City council approves UCSC water expansion policy

On Tuesday, Feb. 28, the Santa Cruz City Council unanimously passed a water expansion measure for UC Santa Cruz that would enable the university to not have to pay for water conservation measures that would offset water growth demand until they reach a baseline of 206 million gallons a year. This baseline number is based off of the water demand from 1997.

 

The proposal was met with a fair amount of opposition from members of the public who came to Tuesday’s meeting, as well as from representatives of Santa Cruz Desal Alternatives.

Ron Pomerantz, a local environmentalist and retired firefighter, proposed lowering the baseline for the university to an average number that would better reflect the water demands of other developers in the city. “This would better reflect customer equality,” he said. “It’s not as if the university would be punished by this. It would encourage them to speed up water conservation actions.”

Santa Cruz Desal Alternatives founder Rick Longinotti added, “If the university doesn’t pay for this, then the burden will fall on the rest of the customers. Every developer has to pay a water hookup fee. There’s no reason why UCSC shouldn’t pay it.”

Longinotti also brought up the fact that the recent requirements of federal and state fisheries agencies for the upcoming year also posed some problems for the university’s water expansion plans. “They’re asking for a conservation strategy that would implement Tier 3 flows,” he said. “That’s a tall order. Until we work out how much water to leave in the streams, we won’t know how much water the university and the rest of the city can use. We need a new conservation plan.”

Bill Kocher, the director of the Santa Cruz Water Department, told the council that, “a Tier 3 flow means leaving 80 percent of the flow in the streams unimpaired. We would need nine million more gallons a year. That just can’t happen.”

Kocher also went on to mention that an average-based baseline would institutionalize anomalies such as the fact that last year was unusually foggy and that, as a result, not as much water was used. He also pointed out that the amount of students living on campus has grown a lot since 2003, and that the ensuing water demands would not be met.

“UCSC’s water projections have actually been way more effective than other developers,” said councilmember Ryan Coonerty. “Last year, they cut their water usage down by more than 30 million gallons, which exceeded the agreement they made. If the university doesn’t implement a water-neutral strategy, then there will be less kids up on campus, and more kids living in the neighborhoods where they will end up using more water. I’d like to remind everyone that the university pays for growth, and their growth is offset by putting aside the funds saved for water conservation.”

To this, Mayor Don Lane added, “There seems to be a lot of assumption from people in the community that UCSC is getting special treatment, but they’re paying extra for their expansion, and not creating any new demands on the system.”

After the deliberation, the city council unanimously voted for the water-neutral expansion measure to be adopted.

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Heart Me Up

In defense of Valentine’s Day

 

“be(ing) of love (a little) more careful”—e.e. cummings

Wednesday (Feb. 10) is Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins. Friday (Feb. 12) is Lincoln’s 207th birthday. Sunday is Valentine’s Day. On Ash Wednesday, with foreheads marked with a cross of ashes, we hear the words, “From dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return.” Reminding us that our bodies, made of matter, will remain here on Earth when we are called back. It is our Soul that will take us home again. Lent offers us 40 days and nights of purification in preparation for the Resurrection (Easter) festival (an initiation) and for the Three Spring Festivals (at the time of the full moon)—Aries, Taurus, Gemini. The New Group of World Servers have been preparing since Winter Solstice. The number 40 is significant. The Christ (Pisces World Teacher) was in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights prior to His three-year ministry. The purpose of this desert exile was to prepare his Archangel (light) body to withstand the pressures of the Earth plane (form and matter). We, too, in our intentional purifications and prayers during the 40 days of Lent, prepare ourselves (physical body, emotions, lower mind) to receive and be able to withstand the irradiation of will, love/wisdom and light streaming into the Earth at spring equinox, Easter, and the Three Spiritual Festivals. What is Lent? The Anglo-Saxon word, lencten, comes from an ancient spring festival, agricultural rites marking the transition between winter and summer. The seasons reflect changes in nature (physical world) and humanity responds with social festivals of gratitude and of renewal. There is a purification process, prayerfulness in nature and in humanity in preparation for a great flow of spiritual energies during springtime. Valentine’s Day: Aquarius Sun, Taurus moon. Let us offer gifts of comfort, ease, harmony, beauty and satisfaction. Things chocolate and golden. Venus and Taurus things.

 

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