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Friday, Jan 27, 2023
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Letter



Editor:

I seldom, if ever, write to an editor. However, Ted Owen’s column (“Without New Fresh Water Supply, Industry Growth Awash,” Feb. 25) moved me to do so.

As a recent board member of the California Regional Water Quality Control Board, we grappled with significant water quality and quantity issues of the region, including the Poseidon permit, which the board approved.

I wholeheartedly agree that desalination is part of the solution, but unfortunately it ties us to significant energy consumption and costs, so desalination is not the only regional solution.

While I agree with the premise that we must do more to identify and prioritize sustainable water supply as a higher priority, part of the answer is not even mentioned by Owen , recycling.

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If we are to think of ourselves as “green” or part of a “sustainability” movement, we must embrace the reuse of our water.

How do we get there? Obviously there are changes that are necessary to infrastructure and regulations, including at my former board. But before any of that can happen, we need to see our elected officials, the business community, and the news media become leaders and agents of change.

What must change is public perception. This will require both fortitude and vision.

It may even be unpopular at first, but that is where the leadership comes in.

Our leaders can start by rejecting the phrase “toilet to tap” for water reuse.

While this is catchy, and certainly evokes an emotional reaction and probably even helps sell papers or get news attention, it is inaccurate as an overall characterization of water reuse.

Let’s call it what it is, reuse or recycling, or even gray water recycling to be more accurate.

If the San Diego region is not only to survive, but prosper, with a limited water supply, water reuse must be on the public agenda and we must reject the knee-jerk “toilet to tap” label.

We need leaders in this area, not those who are afraid of the current public perception.


Daniel E. Johnson

San Diego

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