When a CCSD director recently said, “If we don’t get this rate increase, we don’t know what we’ll do. We don’t have a Plan B,” I felt threatened.
They don’t know what to do? No backup plan? Not even a plan to limit landscape irrigation? (Potable or not, it reduces our drinking water reserves.)
Here is a modest proposal.
- Immediately end pumping from drinking water reserves for landscape irrigation. This alone will increase water availability for domestic use by 30 percent.
- Prepare for portable, temporary emergency water treatment.
- Provide planning/design for in-home gray water recycling systems.
- Reward those using 50 gallons of water a day and penalize those who refuse to reduce their metered water consumption.
- Eliminate Plan “A” and replace with Plan “B”
- Complete Watershed Management Plan. Without this planning tool, the CCSD cannot make an informed decision about water availability.
- Upgrade existing water treatment plant so it is compliant with “Purple Pipe” standards (Health and Safety Code, Water Code, and Titles 22 and 17 of the California Code of Regulations). Loans are available for this type of conservation.
- Require commercial users to use “Purple Water” where possible. Titles 22 & 17 grant this authority. (If we all pay for this upgrade, commercial users should do their part by retrofitting their facilities.)
- Make “Purple Water” available for landscaping to residents. (It must be metered and purchased.) Metering is called for by the Department of Water Resources (DWR) Urban Drought Guidebook.
- Develop off-stream storage facilities. No long-term water solution can adequately protect our community if water storage is not included in the plan. See “Urban Drought Guidebook.”
* Make allowances for medical or other special need situations case-by-case.
This is not new information. The directors know these options exist. Whether by ignorance or design, the current CCSD directors are gambling with our future. To be ignorant is to fail their responsibilities. To design and engineer a water crisis is depraved indifference to the needs of the many in favor of desires of the few.
These directors do not know the cost of their project.
They cannot know the true cost of maintenance and operations.
Their project will not produce water in time to benefit the 90 percent of Cambrians already willing to do what the CCSD refuses to do: Conserve water.
The DWR Urban Drought Guidebook:
- Calls for “contingency planning before a shortage.”
- Calls for “ actions adequate to deal with the circumstance and no more.”
- Requires that “water suppliers start demand-reduction programs before a severe shortage.”
- Warns of unnecessary social and economic harm.
Any reasonable person who cares to do a little reading can come up with a Plan B.
The five directors elected to provide water for public health and safety have failed us. Employees are seeking employment elsewhere, resigning in protest or being pushed out.
Directors unwilling to focus on near-term goals should resign.