Friday, October 14, 2011

Success at the Great Basin Water Forum

I witnessed a beautiful moment today. I witnessed the metamorphosis of an idea into a movement. I won't claim it is my idea. Many people should have figured this one out by now. But I have been promoting this idea for a couple of years now. It felt good to see it accepted. Today I saw an idea become everyone's idea. Within hours, we came to an informal unanimous consensus that desalinating water for California in exchange for more water from the Colorado River is a far better goal than the SNWA Groundwater Development (desertification) Project.

We now have an agenda.

We have a better idea... an idea that will get us all more water.

One of the speakers, Mike Dunbar, made it perfectly clear to everyone. Sometimes the best answer is not the simplest. Sometimes the best answer is not stealing water from your neighbors. Sometimes the best answer is to create more – and live in abundance. Mike Dunbar is the General Manager of The South Coast Water District – who provides water to Dana Point and Laguna Beach, in Southern California. During his presentation, he practically asked us to build them a desalination plant. Of course, what he was actually asking us to do was to press SNWA to buy them a desalination plant. And he made sense. He told us that 70 to 80% of his community realizes the need for desalination. Many Southern Californians live in dread that if an earthquake were to damage the levies on the Sacramento Delta, their community could be out of reliable water for up to six months – when there's an ocean of water right there.

He even sounded like he already had a desalination plant sight in mind.

Someone else in the crowd stood up and said power shouldn't be a problem either. SNWA could build solar power facilities in Nevada to send to (or trade for) power for the desalination facility. This would mean jobs in Southern Nevada. Jobs saving rural Nevada.

There is a win/win option. Of course, the organization formerly known as SNWA will end up owning some desalination and solar energy facilities. But in the long run, my guess is that they will be more profitable than drilling for water in the desert.

It appears that everyone at the forum all agreed. All we have to do now is get the message out.

And finally, with this many of us clamoring for a response, SNWA can no longer ignore the better idea.

To the speculators:
Instead of just maximizing your profits, let's maximize everyone's profits. All I'm saying is that we could all live happier. All I'm saying is let's get together and decide together what the best course of action should be. Let's vote on it.


Anonymous said...

Mexico looks to export water to Western states
by Elliott Spagat - Oct. 16, 2011 12:00 AM
Associated Press

SAN DIEGO - Mexico ships televisions, cars, sugar and medical equipment to the United States. Soon, it may be sending water north.

Western states are looking south of the border for water to fill drinking glasses, flush toilets and sprinkle lawns, as four major U.S. water districts help plan one of two huge desalination-plant proposals in Playas de Rosarito, about 15 miles south of San Diego. Combined, they would produce 150 million gallons a day, enough to supply more than 300,000 homes on both sides of the border.

The plants are one strategy by both countries to wean themselves from the drought-prone Colorado River, which flows 1,450 miles from the Rocky Mountains to the Gulf of California. Decades of friction over the Colorado, in fact, are said to be a hurdle to current desalination negotiations.

The proposed plants have also sparked concerns that American water interests looking to Mexico are simply trying to dodge U.S. environmental reviews and legal challenges.

Desalination plants can blight coastal landscapes, sucking in and killing fish eggs and larvae. They require massive amounts of electricity and dump millions of gallons of brine back into the ocean that can, if not properly disposed, also be harmful to fish.

Water agencies that supply much of Southern California, Phoenix, Las Vegas and Tijuana, Mexico, are pursuing the plant that would produce 50 million gallons a day in Rosarito near an existing electricity plant. They commissioned a study last year that found no fatal flaws and ordered another one that will include a cost estimate, with an eye toward starting operations in three to five years.

Potential disagreements between the two countries include how the new water stores will be used.

The U.S. agencies want to consider helping pay for the plant and letting Mexico keep the water for booming areas of Tijuana and Rosarito. In exchange, Mexico would surrender some of its allotment from the Colorado River, sparing the cost of laying pipes from the plant to California.

Mexico would never give up water from the Colorado, which feeds seven western U.S. states and northwest Mexico, said Jose Gutierrez, assistant director for binational affairs at Mexico's National Water Commission. Mexico's rights are enshrined in a 1944 treaty.

"The treaty carries great significance in our country. We have to protect it fiercely," Gutierrez said.

Anonymous said...

I just saw the movie Rango. Which seems to be focused on this very project. The desert and those that live in it both human, animal and plant will need that water. Leave it alone.

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