Danish wrong about
In “How to increase Colorado’s (and Arizona’s) water supply,” (Re: The Danish Plan, Jan. 3, 2019) Paul Danish proposes supplying water beyond what exists in the Colorado River Basin by building a constellation of desalination plants in California. Danish’s “plan,” if you apply his own numbers, is for California taxpayers to spend about $4 billion just to build facilities to desalinate 10 percent of their water, never mind ongoing operating costs.
Desalinated water is super-expensive; its production is astoundingly wasteful of energy. Congratulations to Paul for suggesting the most complicated, expensive and wasteful way imaginable to generate water! But in fairness, he has thought of an excellent way to pump billions of dollars from taxpayers’ pockets to mega-corporations. Bravo!
Here are the idea’s worst aspects: First, and fatally, a large percentage of residential water goes onto lawns. Boulder, for example, fills an entire pipeline, the Gravity Line, every summer just for lawn demand. If residential water were desalinated, it would be the same as building and running a manufacturing constellation largely to water lawns. Second Bravo!
The other problem is that we need to be generating less energy from fossil fuels, not more. Unless Danish’s putative plants would be nuclear- or solar-powered, their development would exacerbate global roasting. Third Bravo!
Here’s a way better, simpler, cheaper plan: Use a fraction of the money that would go into Danish’s corporate welfare proposal to just buy out millions of lawns and xeriscape them. Save the water, money and the energy that would otherwise be wasted. Let the hydrological cycle do its own job, for free. And “plan” to live within our means, water-wise.