Not so fast on de­sali­na­tion

Los Angeles Times - - OPINION -

Re “Jus­ti­fi­ca­tion of de­sali­na­tion?,” June 4

Or­ange County res­i­dents might be wise to see how San Diego fares be­fore bit­ing on Bos­ton-based Po­sei­don Wa­ter’s plan to repli­cate its $1-bil­lion Carlsbad de­sali­na­tion plant in Hunt­ing­ton Beach.

The Metropoli­tan Wa­ter Dis­trict cur­rently pro­vides 80% of San Diego’s wa­ter at less than half the price per acre-foot of Po­sei­don. While Po­sei­don will add 7% to San Diego’s wa­ter sup­ply, the San Diego County Wa­ter Author­ity is locked into a 30-year con­tract that will in­crease ev­ery ratepayer’s bill an av­er­age of $5 to $7 per month.

Po­sei­don’s max­i­mum pro­duc­tion will be 56,000 acre-feet a year. Com­pare this with the MWD’s $450mil­lion turf re­place­ment pro­gram, which will save 80,000 acre-feet per year.

Maybe some­day we’ll need de­sali­na­tion, but let San Diego be the ex­per­i­ment. In the mean­time, con­ser­va­tion and re­al­lo­ca­tion mea­sures may be all we need to weather the drought.

Eu­gene Mul­laly

San Diego

I was dis­ap­pointed that the ar­ti­cle does not ad­dress im­por­tant is­sues in suf­fi­cient quan­ti­ta­tive, or qual­i­ta­tive, de­tail.

The most im­por­tant is­sue for me is cost. When the plant is fully op­er­a­tional, what is the loaded cost of a gal­lon of fresh wa­ter? The ar­ti­cle does say that the billed cost of wa­ter to the user will go up $5 to $7 per month. What per­cent­age in­crease does that rep­re­sent?

I worry about the eco­log­i­cal changes that the dis­charge of warm brine are go­ing to cause in the im­me­di­ate area of the plant. It seems to me that it would be less dis­rup­tive to the ocean en­vi­ron­ment if the ef­flu­ent were piped far­ther away from the shore­line.

We need more de­tailed in­for­ma­tion about the plant in or­der to feel com­fort­able with its im­ple­men­ta­tion.

Doug Ten­nant

Dana Point

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