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Letter: Desalination cheaper solution to water needs than tunnels
Coalition response…San Luis Reservoir lost the potential of storing 800,000 acre-feet of water earlier this year because of federal regulations. These regulations kept the water in the Delta for fish species instead of allowing it to be rightfully diverted to nearly 4,000 farms and 25 million Californians. Instead, this water flowed to the ocean with no demonstrable benefit for the fish.
Looking for new water supplies is always a good idea. Studies are underway on several projects—Upper Temperance Flat on the San Joaquin River, Sites Reservoir in western Colusa County and raising Shasta Dam—that would increase the water supply for California. It is estimated that 120 desalination plants the size of the recently approved Poseidon facility in San Diego would be required to meet the 6 MAF requirements of the State Water Project and the federal Central Valley Project. With 840 miles of California coastline, a desal plant would have to be placed every seven miles and would still not connect to our current water distribution system. Plans already underway, such as the above and the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, would be much cheaper and more environmentally-friendly than lining our coastline with desal plants.