By Barbara Boxer
Climate change is here, and we must act now. This past summer, Californians experienced catastrophic wildfires that wiped out entire towns, took lives and brought pain and suffering to both the north and south of our state. If we do not respond to the climate change warnings before us, particularly drought, we will fail our children and our grandchildren who call California home. This is not just an environmental issue, it’s a social justice issue.
Op-ed published on Sunday, May 26, 2018 in the Orange County Register.
Managing our existing water supplies and planning for future needs requires thoughtful deliberation. Significant fluctuations in the manifestation and intensity of seasonal weather conditions, symptoms of climate change, are becoming the new normal and there is no “one size fits all approach” to dealing with its effects. Consider that, in just this current decade, California has gone from its most severe drought to one of its wettest winters in recorded history, and now back to a below average winter snowpack this year. This unpredictability requires us to take a closer look at our traditional water resources and how we can diversify to reduce dependence on climate-dependent water supplies.
By Allan Bernstein, Contributing writer
The Oroville Reservoir is continuing to drain Wednesday as state water officials scrambled to reduce the lake’s level ahead of impending storms. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez. The visual of water pouring down the Oroville Dam’s broken spillway could not be a better metaphor for California’s crumbling infrastructure. Orange County learned decades ago that if we wait for Sacramento to act, our infrastructure would be in just as much jeopardy as it is elsewhere in the state.
Ocean desalination is an urgent necessity for Orange County. As California faces mandatory water restrictions for the first time in history, we need to be pursuing all of our options. I often hear versions of the question, "How will Orange County protect itself from this systemic water crisis?"
As a scientist, doctor and father, desal is a commonsense answer. It’s really a no-brainer. We're blessed with an abundant water source (the Pacific Ocean) at our doorstep, so let's tap it. But, as an elected official representing the public, I know that it’s imperative to also contemplate costs and taxpayer risk
The Orange County Water District’s board of directors will consider this evening whether the district should formally enter negotiations with Poseidon Resources to purchase the 56,000 acre-feet of water to be produced each year by its planned Huntington Beach Ocean Desalination Project.
“Desalination must be included in any discussion of future water sources for Orange County."