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Readers React

Do-it-yourself drought busting

To the editor: Conspicuously missing from the analysis and advice provided by 10 water experts was a suggestion that all residents and businesses in California can together capture millions of gallons of what little rain falls by setting up collection systems on their properties. ("Shorter showers? Nine more ways the state has to change its water ways," op-ed, April 24)

I have been doing this for decades, and even this very dry year I have collected close to 2,000 gallons of water, which I store in large barrels and use during the spring and summer for watering plants and trees. Inside the house, water is collected during showers and dishwashing to use for flushing toilets.

Recently, the local PBS news show SoCal Connected reported on a Los Angeles woman who is doing the same thing outdoors and doesn't lose a drop of the rain that falls on her property. A National Public Radio show recently featured a golf course in California that has installed cisterns (which our local farms almost universally had in the "old days"), which capture all the rain that falls on its property. This is commendable and should be imitated by golf courses everywhere.

Whatever happened to personal responsibility for solving serious problems?

Lawrence Berk, Ventura

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To the editor: In his short piece advocating wastewater reuse, Doug Owen revealed the true cause of the water shortage: political incompetence. It is unconscionable that any wastewater is discharged into the ocean when our avocado farmers are facing their fourth year of drought and we are destroying lawns maybe to save an endangered fish species.

Santa Clarita wastewater is treated and then transferred to Ventura County for agricultural use. If Ventura County temporarily doesn't need it, aquifers are replenished.

David Zetland, who advises changing our landscaping preference before building desalination plants, shouldn't be the boss of me. When every Southern Californian has to give up all landscaping because we can't buy the water we want, we need desalinated water. Postponing California's bullet train would provide the money to do it.

David Peterson, Santa Clarita

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To the editor: One issue not addressed was that many Californians do not really pay for their water.

In Los Angeles, where most residents rent, the vast majority of apartment units are not submetered. Renters in these buildings, who effectively pay for their utilities with their monthly rent, pay the same no matter how much water they consume.

Any comprehensive water conservation policy needs to include apartment building submetering.

Daniel Tenenbaum, Los Angeles

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To the editor: In the 1970s, in the most hostile of environments, an 800-mille oil pipeline was built in Alaska.

It's more than 40 years later, and California is experiencing a drought. Do we really think that a water pipeline is an absurd idea?

Nancy Rayl, Newport Beach

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To the editor: I have lived in Tarzana for more than 20 years, and every time I go out, I see new houses, apartment buildings and town houses being built. If we are having such a severe drought, why are these projects being authorized?

Beth Gothrick, Tarzana

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