Santa Cruz Good Times

Monday
Dec 22nd
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Is desalination in our future?

waterSpecial for the Good Times Newsweekly
Forum Thursday to explore the issue.
Live Oak Elementary School, Thursday, March 18 at 6:15

Despite the fact that we’re in a so-called “El Niño” year, drought, population growth and fear of saltwater intrusion continue to impact water supply in Santa Cruz County.

To address supply concerns, the Santa Cruz Water Department and Soquel Creek Water District are seriously considering a plan to build a desalination plant, to serve Santa Cruz and Live Oak residents in dry years, and Soquel District customers in all other years. Soquel District wants to reduce pumping from the aquifer, which they report is in danger of seawater contamination from over-pumping.

What is desalination, or “desal?”  It is a process that removes salt and other undesirables from seawater so that it can be used for human consumption.

As with any new strategy, establishing a desal plant poses certain costs and benefits.  To explore the issue, a number of local organizations are sponsoring a forum called “It’s Up to our Community.”  The sponsors include Surfrider Foundation, Save Our Shores, Transition Santa Cruz, WILPF, Ecological Landscaping Association, Central Coast Greywater Alliance, Ecology Action and Live Oak Neighbors.

Panelists, moderated by former Assembly member John Laird, will include Debbie Cook, former Mayor of Huntington Beach and Board President of the Post Carbon Institute; Bill Kocher, Director of the Santa Cruz Water Department; Heather Cooley of the Pacific Institute, and author of Desalination, With a Grain of Salt; and myself.  More than just a discussion, the sponsoring organizations will seek specific feedback from people who attend the forum.

According to Sarah Mansergh, of the Santa Cruz Chapter of Surfrider Foundation, “Turning seawater into fresh water through this energy intensive process could be a significant new step for this community.  It's important that people are fully informed of the possibilities.”

In fact, it’s important for water customers in Soquel Creek Water District to know that in 2009 the mild restrictions on water use resulted in a 14% cutback in water use. That’s almost the amount of conservation needed every year to bring water consumption in line with the sustainable yield of the aquifer.  A key question to be explored is whether or not Soquel Creek Water District residents rather incur the financial and environmental costs of the desalination plant, or conserve every year like they did last summer?

For Santa Cruz users, the water supply depends mainly on surface water sources. The Santa Cruz City Water Department plans to use the desalination plant for six months during dry years—averaging one out of six years.  Most drought events are predicted to require curtailments of below 20%.  Similar to Soquel Creek user, the question for Santa Cruz residents is if they would rather incur the expense of a desalination plant or conserve a little more every year

If you’d like to learn more about these issues, as well as the greenhouse gas impacts of the proposed desal plant, please come to Live Oak Elementary School, Thursday, March 18 at 6:15.

Desal: it’s truly up to our community to decide.

Rick Longinotti is the author of the article, “Desalination or Living Within Our Water Limits?”  For more info: transitionsc.org

 

 

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Is This a Dream?

A beginner’s guide to understanding and exploring the uncanny world of lucid dreams

 

Giving and Giving, Then Giving Some More

2014 is almost over. Wednesday, Dec. 17, the Jewish Festival of Light, Hanukkah, begins. We are in our last week of Sag and last two weeks of December. Sunday, Dec. 21 is winter Solstice, as the sun enters Capricorn (3:30 p.m. for the west coast). Soon after, the Capricorn new moon occurs (5:36 p.m. for the west coast)—the last new moon of 2014. Sunday morning Uranus in Aries (revolution, revelation) is stationary direct (retro since July 22). Uranus/Aries create things new and needed to anchor the new culture and civilization (Aquarius). We will see revolutionary change in 2015. Capricorn new moon, building-the-personality seed thought, is, “Let ambition rule and let the door to initiation and freedom stand wide (open).” Capricorn is a gate—where matter returns to spirit. But the gate is unseen until the Ajna Center (third eye), Diamond Light of Direction, opens. Winter solstice is the longest day of darkness of the year. The sun’s rays resting at the Tropic of Capricorn (southern hemisphere) symbolize the Christ (soul’s) light piercing the heart of the Earth, remaining there for three days, till Holy Night (midnight Thursday morning). Then the sun’s light begins to rise. It is the birth of the new light (holy child) for the world. A deep calm and stillness pervades the world.The entire planet is revivified, re-spiritualized. All hearts beating reflect this Light. And so throughout the Earth there’s a radiant “impress” (impressions, pictures) given to humanity of the World Mother and her Child. The star Sirius (love/direction) and the constellation Virgo the mother shines above. For gift giving, give to those in need. Give and give and then give some more. This creates the new template of giving and sharing for the new world.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Stocking Stuffers

The men behind the women of the Kinsey Sicks Dragapella Beautyshop Quartet explain their own special brand of ‘dragtivism,’ and their holiday show at the Rio
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Tramonti Pizza

Why there’s no such thing as too much Italian food in Seabright

 

Guitar or surfboard?

Guitar. The closest thing I ever came to surfing was sliding down a rock hill. Charlie Tweddle, Santa Cruz, Hats and Music

 

Fortino Winery’s Intriguing Charbono

At the opening celebration of the new Santa Clara Wine Trail in August, one of the wineries we visited was Fortino. This is where I first tasted their intriguing estate-grown Charbono—a varietal that is one of the rarest in California, with only 80 acres grown statewide.

 

Beyond the Jar

How Tabitha Stroup has built her rapidly expanding jam empire