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Letters: Making the desert's water last

August 08, 2012
  • Water pours out into a spreading basin which holds water from pilot well number 1 used for testing and is part of a possible water storage component on Cadiz Ranch. Cadiz Inc. hopes to build a conveyance pipeline along railroad tracks to export groundwater from the Mojave Desert.
Water pours out into a spreading basin which holds water from pilot well… (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times )

Re "Is this water project worth the risk?," Editorial, Aug. 6

I agree that the Cadiz water project in the Mojave Desert requires more study. Because the wise use of water is imperative and our future depends on its conservation, let's look at the numbers.

An acre-foot contains slightly more than 325,000 gallons, so the minimum draw from the desert aquifer of 50,000 acre-feet annually, as the company proposes, is more than 16 billion gallons of water. If that is "enough water every year to serve 100,000 homes," each residence will have the luxury of about 160,000 gallons, enough for many, many leaky toilets, dripping faucets and lush lawns.

Since the average new home uses most of its water outdoors, isn't it time to restrict yard watering so those same 50,000 acre-feet will serve 200,000 homes?

Jack Fenn

Montecito Heights

You state that some may flinch at the implications of a private investor selling water from an aquifer beneath the Mojave Desert to supply 100,000 Orange County homes for 50 years.

You say that for "better or worse" we long ago crossed that bridge of selling water for profit when L.A. bought water rights in the Owens Valley.

Most say that was a disaster. So how can you state this is not worse?

Ken Newton

Ridgecrest, Calif.

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