Poring over salt in a dry state

Re "Every drop counts," Opinion, Feb. 10

Every time I read an article about the water shortage in Southern California, I wonder why no one seems to mention the vast resources we have just off our coast. Having lived for 40 years in South Florida, and having provided substantial materials to the Key West Aqueduct Authority during that time, I am puzzled about the lack of interest in desalinization technology in Southern California. The Key West desalinization plant provides sufficient water for the entire Florida Keys (at a reasonable cost) and often has water left over for sale to other water districts.

The few times desalinization is mentioned, it is usually sloughed off as too expensive. Unless there is something substantially different here in Southern California than in South Florida, I would bet the answer is more political than real. It would be great if The Times would do an investigative series on desalinization plants around the world (or at least inside the U.S.) and clarify why they really can't be the most long-range economical answer to our water problem.

Art Berkowitz

Laguna Hills

Heather Cooley's essay on the emerging drought in the Western United States is generally quite good. However, her recommendations (new sources of water, reduce demand) fall short. As long as our population continues to grow, the total demand will always outstrip new supplies and reductions in per-capita demand.

It's time to face the fact that we need to transition to a society based on a stable, not perpetually growing, population and economy. Whether it's water, energy, other resources or the ability of the environment to absorb our wastes, we're bumping up against the limits of a finite world.

We need to learn to "live within our means."

Don Dwiggins


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