Santa Cruz Good Times

Wednesday
May 27th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Dive Right In

water-faucetSanta Cruz City Council candidates deliberate on water issues
It’s not often that competing politicians agree. But in this year’s Santa Cruz City Council race, all of the contenders—rather, all five of those in attendance at the Oct. 6 forum at the Louden Nelson Community Center—see eye to eye on one issue: water.

A crowd of Santa Cruzans filled the hall to hear David Terrazas, Lynn Robinson, David Foster, Ron Pomerantz and Steve Pleich speak about what water supply strategies they will support if they are elected on Nov. 2.

Attendees were informed that candidate Hilary Bryant was home with a fever, but Kevin Moon, who does not appear at forums regularly, and Gus Ceballos, who is known to play the “I haven’t done my homework on this issue” card, were both missing in action.

The present candidates were asked to answer three questions: if voters should be allowed to decide on whether to proceed with desalination; if the candidates would allow growth in water demand before knowing the extent of the federal government’s reduction in Santa Cruz water rights to local streams; and if they will re-do the city’s Integrated Water Plan to allow consideration of alternatives to desalination.

Much to the excitement of the audience—some of whom were holding signs that read: “De$$$$alination vs. Con$ervation, which would you choose?”—all of the candidates expressed an adamant interest in exploring conservation options before considering desalination. They were also in favor of putting all water decisions up to a public vote.

The arguments made against desalination—a high cost, fossil fuel dependent, and greenhouse gas producing method of turning salt water into fresh water—are that it will cause a significant increase in our carbon footprint and our impact on the marine environment.

“Desal is the ultimate last resort,” said Pomerantz. “Other options must be explored first before it’s too late to change course and what happened in Santa Barbara—where they don’t even use their desal plant—happens here.”

Instead of proceeding with a desalination plan, local water activist Rick Longinotti suggested (and the five candidates agreed to) increase conservation efforts by exploring new options such as rainwater catchment, composting toilets, water conserving showerheads, turf replacement, greywater systems, off-stream storage and waterless urinals.

After all, according to Longinotti’s presentation on behalf of sustainability group Transition Santa Cruz, even Cameron Diaz abides by the phrase, “if it’s yellow, let it mellow; if it’s brown, flush it down.”

While Longinotti believes that conservation will maximize reservoir storage for times of drought, he also suggests looking to our neighbors in Soquel for help.

James Bentley presented the idea of swapping water with Soquel Creek Water District at the forum. In previous years, the idea never progressed further than conducting a water supply study because of restricting water rights and low impact on curtailment.  But, today, Bentley believes it could make a big difference. The swap would mean that in winter, Santa Cruz would offer its excess water to Soquel so they could rest their wells. Once their aquifers are recovered, they would send water back. Though the plan is far from airtight—it’s unknown whether Soquel will have water to send back—according to Bentley, the swap has the potential of being 20 to 35 percent cheaper than desalination.

All but Councilmember Robinson, who is up for reelection, seemed sold on the Soquel swap idea. “It’s not necessarily the most viable answer,” says Robinson, who spent the night defending the city council’s past decisions. “There’s no guarantee that they can help us.”

The candidate consensus—sans Foster, who claimed to not know the answer—regarding whether to allow growth in water demand before knowing the federal government’s reduction in Santa Cruz water rights, is that the community needs cautious planning to examine all strategies before making shortsighted decisions that could hurt the water supply in the long run.

“We need focus groups with every citizen in this town,” says Pleich. “Let’s listen to every voice on this issue, then let’s come up with a solution.”

The bottom line for the contenders seems to be that time is not of the essence when it comes to finding the best water strategy for Santa Cruz. By exploring new options for conservation, sitting down with locals and assessing their needs, revising the Integrated Water Plan and putting all decisions to a community vote, they hope to slow the process down in favor of big picture planning.

“We need to look and see if the Integrated Water Plan is up-to-date based on newlyavailable conservation programs and [then] reevaluate if necessary,” says Terrazas. “If that means a delay in order to get the right solution for the community, then so be it.”

 

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Off Her Meds

Kristin Wiig runs wild—and transcends her sketch comedy roots—as a truly strange character ‘Welcome to Me’

 

Gate Openers

Up-and-coming artists like Ryan Bingham are a great reason to show up early to the Santa Cruz American Music Festival

 

Gemini Sun, Pentecost, Shavuot—Enlightenment and Gladness

As the sun enters Gemini on Sunday, sign of speaking, communication, thinking, inter-relations, writing and understanding languages, the feast days of Pentecost & Shavuot (Catholic and Jewish festivals) occur. During Pentecost’s 50 days after Easter, tongues of fire appear above the heads of the disciples, providing them with the ability to understand all languages and all feelings hidden in the minds and hearts of humanity. It’s recorded that Pentecost began with a loud noise, which happened in an upper room (signifying the mind). The Christ (World Teacher) told his disciples (after his ascension) when encountering a man at a well carrying a water pot (signs for Age of Aquarius) to follow him to an upper room. There, the Holy Spirit (Ray 3 of Divine Intelligence) would overshadow them, expand their minds, give them courage and enable them to teach throughout the world, speaking all languages and thus able to minister to the true needs of a “seeking” humanity. Pentecost (50 days, pentagram, Ray 5, Venus, concrete and scientific knowledge, the Ray of Aquarius) sounds dramatic, impressive and scary: The loud noise, a thunderous rush of wind and then “tongues of fire” above the heads of each disciple (men and women). Fire has purpose. It purifies, disintegrates, purges, transforms and liberates (frees) us from the past. This was the Holy Spirit (Ray 3, love and wisdom) being received by the disciples, so they would teach in the world and inform humanity of the Messiah (Christ), who initiated the new age (Pisces) and gave humanity the new law (adding to the 10 Commandments of the Aries Age) to Love (Ray 2) one another. Note: Gemini is also Ray 2. Shavuot is the Jewish Festival of Gladness, the First Fruits Festival celebrating the giving of the 10 Commandments to Moses as the Aries Age was initiated. Thus, we have two developmental stages here, Jewish festival of the Old Testament. Pentecost of the New Testament. We have gladness, integrating both.
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

What’s your take on Santa Cruz locals?

Santa Cruz locals are really friendly once you know them. I think a lot of them have a hard time leaving, and I would too. Ryan Carle, Santa Cruz, Biologist

 

Soquel Vineyards

If Soquel Vineyards partners Peter and Paul Bargetto and Jon Morgan were walking down the street wearing their winning wine competition medals, you’d hear them coming from a mile away. This year was particularly rewarding for the Bargettos and Morgan—they won two Double Gold Medals and five Gold Medals at January’s San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

 

Flats Bistro

Pizza with an artisan twist comes to Aptos Beach

 

Should Pacific Avenue be a one-way street, two-way street, or pedestrian only?

I would definitely support closing off Pacific Mall to cars. I think that would be wonderful. Jim Grey, Santa Cruz, Builder