Santa Cruz Good Times

Saturday
Feb 13th
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

 

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.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of February 12

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Pub Watch

Mega gastro pub-in-progress at the Old Sash Mill, plus the best pasta dish downtown

 

How do you know love is real?

When you feel the groove in your heart and you’re inspired to dance. Becca Bing, Boulder Creek, Teacher

 

Temple of Umami

Watsonville’s Miyuki is homestyle cooking, Japanese-style

 

How would you stop people from littering?

Teach them from the time that they’re small that it’s not an appropriate behavior. Juliet Jones, Santa Cruz, Claims Adjuster