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Indybay Feature
Thu Mar 11 2010
Desalination and the Alternatives: It's Up to the Community
Thu Mar 11 2010
Desalination: A Highly Energy Intensive Way to Increase Water Supply
Santa Cruz Water Department and Soquel Creek Water District have embarked on a plan for a desalination plant, a highly energy intensive way to increase the water supply. The greenhouse gases that such a plant would produce have inspired opposition. A forum on Thursday, March 18th at 6:15pm at Live Oak Elementary School features Bill Kocher from the Santa Cruz Water Department and Debbie Cook, former mayor of Huntington Beach, and author of "Desalination, Energy Down the Drain."

The desalination plant would aim 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.

Sarah Mansergh from the Santa Cruz Chapter of Surfrider Foundation explains, "Turning sea water 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." The organizers will poll people who attend on their opinions about the desalination plant as a core component of our local water policy.

Local environmentalist, Rick Longinotti says, "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. Would Soquel residents rather incur the financial and environmental costs of the desalination plant, or conserve every year like they did last summer?" Read more
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