Letters to the Editor

Energy and water

Supervisor Frank Mecham’s proposals for “How we can permanently fix SLO County’s water problems” (Aug. 29) is missing some context: energy use and climate disruption.

Water doesn’t happen in a vacuum. All the piping, pumping, recycling and desalinating in Mecham’s five-point plan require energy. Water-related energy use consumes 20 percent of the electricity used in California. Where do we get the energy needed to fix our water problems without greatly aggravating the underlying condition: longer, deeper droughts intensified by greenhouse gas emissions from carbon-intensive energy use?

The Union of Concerned Scientists report “Clean Energy Opportunities in California’s Water Sector” found that “water and wastewater utilities are in a unique position to help California adapt to severe droughts and to achieve the state’s climate goals,” and that Sonoma County’s Community Choice energy program “is showing that making investments in clean, renewable sources of energy benefits customers and the environment by supplying carbon-free water.”

Before we think about implementing Supervisor Mecham’s water solutions, we need an energy solution. Sonoma County, like Marin County, has found that solution in Community Choice energy (http://www.Sonomacleanpower.org), saving its residents and businesses $13 million in the process.

They took action. San Luis Obispo County is still slow.