15 Jul 2014

We ignore the drought to make money

In response to this post (and discussion), DW said:
San Diegan’s won’t take the drought seriously until local government put a moratorium on new housing development or water stops coming out of their taps. They ask "why are water agencies continuing to hook up to new sprawling subdivisions if there is a water shortage?"
To which I replied:
I agree. I'm writing an essay on "water waste" that has SD as the main case study. I wrote that the city CANNOT increase prices at the same time as approving development without causing trouble with residents and/or conflicting with "move here, plenty of water" advertising.

So they deny -- and desalinate -- until they get by or hit the wall...
Don't forget my AMA on drought Thursday!


  1. Speaking of the City of San Diego and housing projects, the City is getting in the way of using recycled water in a 2,000 unit project next to Otay Lakes and the Olympic Training Center.

    In fact the Otay Water Board voted 4-1 two months ago to let the project proceed without recycled water because of the City's concern of raising salinity levels in the Lakes (City owns the Lakes) due to possible runoff from the adjacent development.

    The sad thing is the City wasn't trying to find a possible solution to the problem. As well, never mind we are in the worst drought in recorded history and potable water should be the last thing used on landscaping.

    See the details of the project at http://bit.ly/SG6h4P (item 6e)

  2. Are the costs of desalination (financial, environmental, social) outweighed by the economic benefits derived by San Diegans (or society in general) from this new source of water? Or is the reverse true? That seems like the key question to me.

  3. @Anonymous -- big/good question. I'm writing an essay on SD and desal now. Seems to me that desal makes political sense, but not economic sense (costs are averaged across all customers) or social sense (growth, sprawl, carbon). Politicians can ignore those factors, if they can hide/ignore them.


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