Los Angeles Times
Killing a river, and we know it
Re “River warnings were ignored,” July 17
In your report on the Colorado River crisis, the words of Colorado State University climate scientist Brad Udall are important enough to bear repeating: “Humans are really reluctant to give things up to prevent a catastrophe. They’re willing to hang on to the very end and risk a calamity.”
Although he was referring to the river levels, his words apply just as well to the country’s approach to climate change.
Congress can’t seem to muster enough political will to pass meaningful laws that would address this challenge, such as a price on carbon, even though the sacrifices they would ask of us would be small compared to what we’ll have to pay in the future. Our failure to act also puts the rest of the world at greater risk of missing its chance to avert dangerous warming levels.
Hang on, indeed. David Sims, Long Beach
As you importantly point out, scientists’ warnings about a Colorado River crisis have gone unheeded.
Also, some of us have pointed out that there is annual flooding in the Midwest, South and East, and there have been numerous suggestions to pipe water from those areas to the drought-stricken West. But these readily engineered suggestions have likewise gone unheeded.
This is possibly because there are too many lawyers and not enough engineers and scientists in our government who can actually solve the problem.
Frank R. Tangherlini
Water shortage warnings were ignored by officials who, doing the necessary calculus, made the correct calculation that sufficient problems wouldn’t come to pass until they had retired and were drawing from large definedbenefit pension plans.
I find it interesting that your well reported article didn’t attribute names to these officials. While it would provide satisfaction to go after them, that would do nothing to resolve today’s water problems.
Re “Recurring drought prompts cities to study recycled water,” July 17
Technology for recycling waste water is not new. Orange County has been reclaiming treated sewage plant effluent to far above drinking water standards and returning the treated water to the aquifer since 2008.
Current capacity is about 100 million gallons per day, and there is still one more stage of expansion once the pipes are in place to get water from another sewage treatment plant.
Such recycling statewide would solve much of the problem of over-drawing aquifers all over California. What is everybody waiting for? It makes no sense to me that this is still at the “study” stage.
Roberta Fox Costa Mesa
We are running out of time to save our fresh water resources.
Why can’t we look to Catalina Island? With no fresh water rivers there, they have adapted to their world with salt water toilets and a desalination plant.
If we cannot adapt and use our rising oceans, we will not survive.
Carol McVay Laguna Woods