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Opinion

Readers React: California’s drought is a national problem

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Sheri Shaffer, a manager with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, views the water inlet/outlet tower’s exposure, revealing how far the water has receded at the Diamond Valley Lake in Hemet.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: As California suffers, so does the nation. The more we pay for water, the more the nation pays for food. (“In virtual mega-drought, California avoids defeat,” Oct. 5)

California’s drought does not call for a water bond measure; this needs to be addressed similar to the way the Tennessee Valley was in the 1930s. If the government could take over flood control, electricity generation and economic development via the Tennessee Valley Authority for parts of Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky and other states, then it can do the same for drought-plagued California, Nevada and Arizona.

Huge amounts of water run off into the ocean all over the Pacific coast. Water could be sent to the Southwest via a pipeline and stored in reservoirs.

Those pushing for the water bond on the November ballot should be pressuring the federal government for an even larger project that would benefit the Southwest and the rest of the nation.

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Murray Levine, Encino

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To the editor: There is a vast opportunity for water conservation that remains untapped: master-metered apartment buildings. When converted to individual meters, with each tenant paying for his or her own water, consumption for such a property drops by 28%, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

For the first 100 years of indoor plumbing, such conversion meant repiping the building with individual service to each apartment so the meters could be read visually. But in the last couple of decades, new electronic meters are being installed by water utilities, allowing signals to be sent over phone lines, eliminating the need for human readers and meter placement for public access.

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The utilities oppose this because it means more work for less water sold, so this will need to be mandated. But it’s time to do so.

Kevin Davis, Beverly Hills

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To the editor: Your article was very insightful but offered no solutions. We have had periods in California’s past with many years of drought. It may be in our future.

The voters in the past have rejected the use of recycled drinking water. We can use recycled waste water for agriculture as we use it for golf courses. California has an abundance of water available for agriculture from the Pacific Ocean. If about 80% of the water used in California is for agriculture, why don’t we build desalination plants specifically to make water to grow the food for America?

We need to build the plants for the industry that feeds the world. Save the Colorado River water for drinking.

The detractors will say this would be a waste of money if the rain comes again. In fact, the desalinated water could always be used to refill our badly depleted aquifers.

Bernard Bregman, Northridge

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To the editor: Seventy-five years ago, when I was in the fifth grade in Los Angeles, we were bused to the Museum of Science and Industry in Exposition Park. One of the exhibits was on the Los Angeles water supply system.

I still remember the words of the man who explained the city’s water predicament: “Los Angeles will never run out of water, but we may run out of cheap water.”

Those words apparently still hold true today. Yes, we might run low on inexpensive water, and that troubles many interests, not the least of which is agriculture. But like gasoline, if we pay enough money, we will get it.

Martin A. Brower, Corona del Mar

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