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Southland's Water Needs

February 13, 1986

Southern Californians should be reassured by the efforts of Metropolitan Water District to secure adequate water supplies for the future.

As president of the Southern California Assn. of Governments (SCAG), a regional planning agency for six Southern California counties, I share Boronkay's concern that our future water needs will outgrow existing supplies as we move into the 21st Century.

Southern California is already doing a lot to make efficient use of existing supplies. Numerous conservation programs have been implemented and thousands of elementary school students are being taught the value of wise water use through special education programs. Water reclamation projects are on the increase and innovative groundwater storage efforts are under way that will capture and save water during wet years for use during future droughts. And the list goes on.

Why, then, this growing need for water? The answer is our growing population.

SCAG expects an additional 3 million people will live and work within its six-county region by the year 2000, stimulating development of a more diverse economic base supplementing existing agriculture and other water-hungry enterprises.

Some of these people will migrate here from other parts of the country. And still others will arrive as the government continues to struggle with an effective immigration policy. But fully half of this increase will be our children and their children, a fact that is often overlooked by critics who charge that increasing water supplies, improving highways or making other public service improvements act as a lure to the masses from the Snow Belt.

In this regard, SCAG has recently prepared a water policy paper designed to help create a statewide consensus on water supply, emphasizing the need for reliability of that supply, preservation of water quality, a continued commitment to conservation and affordability.

It is unrealistic, and even dangerous, to assume that the projected increases in population will not occur. Southern California must be prepared to meet its water needs and a vital part of this preparation certainly involves the planning and development of additional water supplies.

KAY CENICEROS

Riverside

Ceniceros is supervisior from the 3rd Distirct in Riverside County.

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