OAKLAND, Calif.—California has a lot of coastline. So why all the fuss about the drought? Desalination to the rescue, right?
Not quite. The largest desalination plant in the Western Hemisphere is currently under construction in Carlsbad in San Diego County at great expense. The price tag: $1 billion.
Right now, San Diego is almost totally dependent on imported water from Sierra snowmelt and the Colorado River. When the desalination plant comes online in 2016, it will produce 50 million gallons per day, enough to offset just 7 percent of the county’s water usage. That’s a huge bill for not very much additional water.
Which brings us to the pee-drinking.
This year’s drought has motivated California to invest $1 billion in new money on water recycling efforts statewide, a much more cost-efficient way of increasing potable water supplies. But reusing purified sewer water for brushing your teeth is not without its own set of issues. National Journal describes the biggest holdup:
The problem with recycled water is purely psychological. Despite the fact the water is safe and sterile, the “yuck factor” is hard to get over, even if a person understands that the water poses no harm. In one often-cited experiment, researchers poured clean apple juice into a clean bedpan, and asked participants if they’d be comfortable drinking the apple juice afterwards. Very few of the participants agreed, even though there was nothing wrong with it. It’s forever associated with being “dirty,” just like recycled wastewater.
While it’s not quite correct that every glass of water contains dinosaur pee, it is true that every source of fresh water on Earth (rainfall, lakes, rivers, and aquifers) is part of a planetary-scale water cycle that passes through every living thing at one point or another. In a very real way, each and every day we are already drinking one another’s urine.
Calmer winds helped firefighters gain ground on Saturday against fires that have destroyed homes and raced through nearly 20,000 acres of northern and eastern San Diego County brush land.
Authorities charged a man for adding fuel to one of the nearly dozen blazes.
Earlier this month, the city of Irwindale, California ruled that the local Huy Fong Foods Sriracha factory is a public nuisance. Now, California Republicans are pledging to “Stand with Sriracha” against Big Government — and people with nosebleeds allegedly caused by the hot sauce smell.
— Neel Kashkari (@neelkashkari) April 19, 2014