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Future Water Supply Requires Planning Now

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Southern California is a desert. A future water supply that will accommodate both population growth and our current wasteful habits is uncertain. The only certainty is that traditional sources of water, especially the Colorado River, are not dependable future sources. The future supply must come either from the construction of desalinization plants along our coastline, or a comprehensive reclamation program. Most likely, a combination of the two sources will prevail.

To ensure a consistent future source of water, we strongly believe goals must be adopted that encompass the capturing and treating, to drinking water standards, of most or all of the volume of effluent that is discharged through the Orange County Sanitation District’s outfall pipe.

We applaud the district’s concern for a balanced ecosystem that is equally sensitive to the ocean, land and air. We are fortunate on two counts; the technology exists today, not only to achieve these ambitious goals, but also to accomplish them keeping intact the balanced ecosystem the district frequently expresses as its ultimate priority. Second, the district has strong financial reserves and the legal ability to raise the funds necessary to accomplish these goals.

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The district in many ways mirrors the region it serves--cognizant of the environment, responsive to cost concerns and fully educated to the option. But it must also realize what we believe to be a moral imperative also shared by the people of Orange County.

We urge the board of directors not to apply for renewal of the 301h waiver. There cannot be another five years of the same level of treatment.

Science has spoken; it has tracked the plume to one mile out, which is too close. We believe the message is clear--we can and should do much better.

The district must now take the higher, more difficult road and aggressively plan for a safe and healthy future.

Garry Brown

Executive Director

Orange County Coastkeeper

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Newport Beach

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