Site icon HOME

Dr. Jack Paxton Speaks on California’s Water Woes

At the March club meeting our speaker was Dr. Jack Paxton, Professor Emeritus at the University of Illinois, Urbana, and a seasonal resident of San Marcos. He gave an honest and therefore somewhat depressing history of how California has created its present water crisis in his talk entitled, “Water We Doing with Dihydrogen Monoxide?”

Dr. Paxton used visuals as he spoke to emphasize his remarks. He continually expressed concern for taking water without replacing it and the impact of later loss on the environment. “We are participating in a bank robbery!” he explained. “We deposit virtually no water to the Colorado River but we withdraw from its banks 1.7 trillion gallons of water a year. If we levied 1 cent per gallon we could retire the California state debt quickly.”

Here are a series of actions that Dr. Paxton says have brought us to our present state, which has been made worse by an ongoing drought: 

Global warming could impact San Diego’s water supply by decreasing the Sierra Nevada mountain snowpack and increasing the demand for water. As water becomes scarcer, more water must be moved and treated to try to supply the demand. Increased energy using fossil fuels in turn creates more carbon dioxide that contributes further to global warming. Desalinization also is a huge energy hog, he said, and he was not favorable toward a desalinization plant in Carlsbad. In San Diego, for example, water is pumped through 2,890 miles of aging water lines. This requires 60% of the city’s electricity budget. 

Further, he said soon the Vallecitos Water District will urge users to not conserve water because the district has committed to pay for a certain amount of water and must sell it. 

So what does he recommend that we can do to help this problem? 

For additional reading and recommended sources: 

Exit mobile version