It was interesting to read about PG&E’s offer of desalinated water (“Can Diablo Canyon’s desal plant help SLO County’s water crisis?”: June 3). Their desalination plant works in tandem with Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant’s once-through cooling system, which withdraws over 2.5 billion gallons of ocean water a day. Over 1.5 billion larvae (estimated, annual) are entrained into this system. The waste of desalination (for every 2 gallons extracted, 1 gallon is wasted) is mixed with warm OTC discharge. Thus, Diablo Canyon’s OTC has a significant impact on California’s ocean ecosystem. Meanwhile, Avila Beach and the Five Cities area discharge more than 4 million gallons a day (combined) of reusable water to the ocean. It’s delivered from Lopez Lake, local groundwater or state water. All of these sources are heavily impacted by drought.
This water should be safely reclaimed for groundwater injection (as with Pismo Beach’s new project), for direct use in agriculture and (eventually) for direct potable reuse.
Almost immediately, gray water could be made available from treatment plants throughout the county for firefighter training, emergency use and construction.
We ask the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors to help our communities better distribute recycled water and to stop adding significant and avoidable impacts to our ocean ecosystem.