California Dry Water Crisis in the Golden State

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Rattle Snack Gulch © 2006 – 2016 Christopher Smith

California Dry Water Crisis in the Golden State

Christopher Smith

March 6, 2014

            California is a lush surfers dream, with the ocean as its center focus. The ocean, on the other hand does nothing to help the crisis California is falling into with water shortages. High in the Colorado Mountains is a stream known as the Colorado River. The river has flowed for thousands of years cutting its way into states like Arizona, creating the Grand Canyon.

Industrial ecology in San Diego County

            The Colorado River was not what we see in current society. The reality is deeply forgotten except at the Hover dam. The river only flows 6 months out of the year. Years ago Arizona and California transformed the river into a system that now supplies water to some of the most desolate areas in the United States of America. The Colorado river passes through The Mohave Desert, also supplying water for Death Valley and Las Vegas, Bullhead City, Arizona, and Lake Havasu city, Arizona before reaching anything in California. Damn after Damn the river is contained to provide millions of people with fresh drinking water.
            San Diego is one of the areas, which feels the struggle with water. With only a couple of choices of how to gain drinking water like many other areas opted for the easy route of the Colorado River. Simply put the Colorado River is not able to meet the needs of all the people living in all the areas along the river. Carlsbad has taken the initiative to come up with another alternative to meet the need for drinking water. By desalinating the ocean water, the newly proposed plant would be able to supply water to thousands of residents in the area. According to California dry: Water crisis in the golden state. (2008), “A proposed desalination project promises to provide 50 million gallons of fresh water per day” (San Diego County: Water Importer). This solution has its negative side; desalination could disrupt the oceans marine life. So environmentalists have taken a stand against the newly proposed plant. According to Francis (2014), “Once these living organisms enter the machinery of the desalination plant, they are killed. This represents a huge loss of life and could potentially destroy entire ecosystems” (The Effects of Treatment Plants in the Ocean). By killing off the marine life, it would disrupt the Biomass pyramid that supplies food for other marine life and in return the land environment and of its inhabitants. Carlsbad is willing to try other alternatives. One such alternative is the use of green technology to offset the amount of energy to produce drinking water. Another method Carlsbad is looking into is gaining the ocean water deep inside the sand of the beaches. This would help to minimize the marine life disruption. This will not solve all the problems desalination presents, but it is a start to looking into alternative methods for drinking water in San Diego County.

Toilet to tap

            Toilet to tap is an interesting idea of turning wastewater into drinking water. The technology is used on a small scale in areas like Bullhead city Arizona for watering parks and recreation areas. Homeowners also have redesigned home to use what’s called grey-water to water their lawns. Using wastewater to create drinking water raises a few eyebrows because of its nature in where the waste comes from. Realistically all life on earth uses recycled water. The water had been here for millions of years before mankind showed up. The natural process takes thousands of years to occur and even with that animals perform their bodily functions in the water. My belief is that the process is possible, but the mental change in what society believes, on a sanitation level will be harder to overcome.

Reusing sewage water

            Reusing sewage water would help the environment in water shortage areas n many ways. The process could be used throughout the country to provide safe clean water. One concern I have is the amount of natural resources needed to make the process work. Another concern is the safety factor. As seen in the Carlsbad area, directly across the street from where the proposed water desalinization plant, is to be built is a nuclear power plant that has its own issues. Brown (2014), “Confidence has been tested this month after a radiation leak and the initial report 13 workers had tested positive for radioactive contamination” (para. 5). Society has learned that counting on future generations of leaders and the monetary system cannot be trusted. All good intentions could be the collapse of the society when something goes wrong.


            Areas like California have to act now to offset the ongoing dilemma of water supply. With much new technological break-through, our society has gained many options on how to achieve the results we want. The environment and society have an equal stake in these matters, and if future generations are to continue, then we as a society need to be realistic and commit to doing the right thing. 40-50 years down the road will the money be there to do repairs and upgrades, or will the process still maintain strict regulations? These are the questions people have to ask themselves when deciding what’s best for now and the future.


Brown, T. K. (2014). The radiation leak site that wants more nuclear waste. Retrieved from

California dry: Water crisis in the golden state. (2008). Retrieved March 7, 2014, from

Francis, K. (2014). Desalination of seawater can do more harm than good. Retrieved from


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