Opinion » Letters

A water and 
air win-win

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America’s infrastructure and utilities are becoming more critical and expensive, especially given increasingly destructive impacts of climate change and drought.

NASA recently reported that California has roughly one year of water remaining at our present rate of consumption. Water availability from the Sierra snowpack, reservoirs, and aquifers is at its lowest levels in recorded human history. Population and agricultural growth are dangerously depleting our water supplies. And California may start experiencing mega-droughts of 10, 20, 30 years or longer. We are in a very serious situation, which is getting worse.

But Pacific Ocean water is readily available. We are now technically prepared to build major desalination facilities. Central California, including SLO County, is wonderfully situated to utilize available land and power supplied by PG&E’s Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant. Desalination facilities require a huge amount of power, which Diablo Canyon could easily provide.

Now, the hard part: the public’s desire, will, and commitment. California must immediately declare a state of emergency, then fast-track planning, design, and construction of desalination facilities along our coastline.

This is a win-win, increasing water supplies and continuing the production of major CO2-free green power.

This is achievable, if we have the wisdom to make it reality. The devastating alternative is continued declining water supplies, forcing businesses and people to leave the state.

-- Walter Reil - Atascadero

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