Bruce R. Frohman: Forget building dams; desalinate instead

February 25, 2014 

Regarding The Bee column, “SoCal has all the water it needs; why don’t we?” (Opinions, Feb. 23): Opinions page editor Mike Dunbar asserted that Southern California has “all the water it needs.” He attributes their water security to construction of dams and holding basins.

The great southwest is in the 13th year of drought. On the Colorado River, Lake Mead has not been full in over a decade. As Lake Mead is its primary water source, Southern California is acutely worried about the drought. They want more of our water.

In California, making water has greater logic than building more storage for rain that may not come.

The permanent drought solution is to manufacture water as needed. Ninety percent of California’s population live within 30 miles of the Pacific Ocean. Coastal communities can build desalinization plants to supply their needs.

The Bay Area takes at least half of the Sierra water in our region. Sierra water should be used to irrigate Valley farms and keep fisheries healthy.

In the long run, desalinization would be less costly financially and environmentally than building and maintaining large storage projects. Building dams is 19th century technology. Desalinization is 21st century innovation. Which do you prefer?

BRUCE R. FROHMAN

Modesto

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