Monday, October 15, 2007

Let Us Sip Some Water Together...

Today is the day I was supposed to have posted a thoughtful blog on an environmental topic, in observance of Blog Action Day. Illness prevented me from posting that promptly this morning, but I will offer a casual account of what I planned to write about.

We got a little bit of rain this past week, which is always a treat for us Saturnine children who thrive on wet, cloudy days. Friday night, I took the lady out to the pictures so she could watch Brad Pitt play Jesse James (sigh), and by the time we came out of the theatre the rain was in full progress. It's that kind of rain that drenches the freeways and spreads the oil out, sending all of the jackasses spinning. A 15-truck pileup went up in flames and closed the Golden State Freeway later that night. My kind of weather.

The garden on the steps leading up to our apartments may be happy, but overall southern California is suffering one of the driest years of a long, long drought. Reservoirs fed from the Colorado River are sitting half-full. Avocado farmers are actually cutting down some of their trees. In a few weeks, the supply of water diverted here from the San Joaquin-Sacramento River Delta is going to be cut by as much as a third. The forecast is for a dry winter, too. which means more problems next year for sure.

One community here in the western states - Cloudcroft, New Mexico - is about to go online with a water reuse system that will have villagers drinking water that has, um, been around. The wastewater will go into one end of a system of filters and scrubbers, and come out as fresh, potable water ready for drinking and washing. Despite the "ick" factor, there comes a point where reality intrudes just enough to overcome: the community is at a high elevation, and cannot afford to buy more and more water rights indefinitely - especially with a 20-year drought predicted.

San Diego keeps voting similar technology down, opting instead to shop around for more water rights and to divert more water away from other people. Soon, however, these options will dry up, too, and San Diego will make the tiny leap over its "ick" and drink reused water. As will Los Angeles and the valleys. Cloudcroft, New Mexico should be praised for blazing the trail to an innovative solution.

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