Water recycling offers an alternate solution to statewide drought crisis
THE SANTA CLARA
June 1, 2014
Gov. Jerry Brown, please do not throw away billions of Californian’s hard earned tax dollars on an unsustainable project the state cannot afford.
The Bay Delta Conservation Plan, currently under public review, proposes to build new infrastructure to more efficiently deliver water to California residents and restore the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
The idea of recovering the Delta seems attractive. In fact, the plan itself sounds nice in theory — the Delta ecosystem would be restored, and the agriculture corporations and residents of California would have access to a reliable supply of water — but let’s be realistic.
Farmers whose land lies in the 10-mile corridor where the plan’s proposed tunnels are to be built would be put out of business. Drilling vibration and noise pollution from the construction of the project would disturb surrounding residents. In addition, the thousands of excavation chemicals, which would be used to clear out 717 acres of tunnel muck, are likely to be harmful to the environment.
“Thousands of excavation chemicals, which would be used to clear out 717 acres of tunnel muck, are likely to be harmful to the environment.”
Furthermore, it is clear the public is not in favor of constructing the two 37-mile tunnels to help transport water across the state. A public opinion poll conducted by Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz and Associates found 40 percent of 1,000 state voters prefer that the state does not build new major projects to transport water from the Delta. The poll also found that 45 percent of voters support building local water conservation and recycling projects. However, a mere 10 percent support the Delta tunnel project.
If the Delta tunnels are built, billions of tax dollars will be directed toward a “solution” that would take years to go into full effect. This project will not mitigate the state’s current water shortage, nor can it promise citizens of California a reliable water supply in the future.
The Sierra Nevada snowpack is the main contributing water source for the Delta, but this water supply is in jeopardy. According to an article published by the Sacramento Bee, “By May 1, when the state conducted its final snow survey of the year, the Sierra Nevada snowpack was down to 18 percent of average for the date.”
As global warming continually gets worse, there will be little to no snowpack in the Sierra Nevada in upcoming years. Putting time, energy, resources and tax dollars into an infrastructure that heavily depends on a water supply that is very likely to disappear, and soon, is pointless.
The cost of the tunnels would prevent water districts from investing in more alternative long term water supply options that are much more sustainable and cost effective. Combining innovative approaches to sustain local water supplies such as using aquifers as storage reservoirs, artificially recharging groundwater basins, capturing urban runoff, building water recycling plants and educating the public on water conservation methods are more reliable, pragmatic ways to alleviate stress on water supply during the ongoing drought.
Water recycling, specifically, offers many benefits to local communities. Water reclamation increases the availability of a safe drinking water supply at a lower cost than importing water from resources across or outside of the state. The process of water recycling also protects bodies of water, such as rivers, streams, creeks and the ocean from the discharge of effluents, which can damage and pollute surrounding ecosystems.
Continuing down this path would be foolish due to the negative environmental and economic impacts that inevitably come with the plan. Do not pass the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, especially when more cost-effective, efficient and publicly-favored options are available.
Contact Mallory Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408) 554-4825.