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How resilient is our water supply?

Original post made on Jul 16, 2021

The deepening drought and recent calls for Californians to voluntarily reduce their water use by 15% have residents starting to wonder: Just how resilient are local water systems in the event of a long-term drought or an emergency?

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, July 16, 2021, 6:56 AM

Comments (8)

Posted by rita vrhel
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 16, 2021 at 11:24 am

rita vrhel is a registered user.

It was fascinating to read the cover story "Drying Up"of the Weekly's 7/9/21 newspaper.
And then read the Real Estate ads; many of which feature full and sparkling private swimming pools.
Is anyone else concerned regarding this glaring disconnect? I would ask all municipalities to suspend the issuing of swimming pool permits during this period of drought. These private luxuries are not helping with needed water conservation. Maybe no more private swimming pools should be allowed if we are being asked to conserve and do our "fair" share.
An equalizing thought. Thank you.


Posted by Local Resident
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 16, 2021 at 12:57 pm

Local Resident is a registered user.

Great article! I hope East Palo Alto can obtain funding for its water storage


Posted by Consider Your Options.
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 16, 2021 at 1:32 pm

Consider Your Options. is a registered user.

The article should mention that Palo Alto gives East Palo Alto a portion of our water allotment. I support that resource sharing, but I also think that it is one of many things our community shares with communities around us that often go unrecognized.


Posted by Leslie York
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 16, 2021 at 4:01 pm

Leslie York is a registered user.

Why does the state of California, with its agricultural economy, place more emphasis on a high-speed choo-choo train between Bakersfield and Merced than it does on water?

A succession of governors dating back to the '70s has done practically nothing about water management in California, yet we continue to have persistent droughts.

There are currently no plans for desalination plants on the drawing board, but the choo-choo between Bakersfield and Merced is full-speed ahead.

We can't live without water but we can sure as heck live without a train between Bakersfield and Merced.

You can't conserve your way out of a drought.


Posted by C
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jul 16, 2021 at 5:27 pm

C is a registered user.

"Statewide, average water use is roughly 50% environmental, 40% agricultural, and 10% urban,"

So, basically, any conservation done by CA residents will have little impact, at best. I also find kind of bemusing that over 95% of CA's plant and wildlife are non-native invasive species, so I don't know what we're protecting when we say we're protecting CA's "environment". (Send in the goats, though, to get rid of that dried brush that'll fuel the next wildfire.) And this article says that, while a drought has impact on CA's agricultural prices, other factors, such as transport, processing, and packaging have a greater impact. On top of this corporations (they're the one supplying your chain grocery store, not some small farmer) have farms in multiple states, anyway. And California is already a net importer of fruits and vegetables. Farmers also shift agricultural production to more profitable produce, and have already done so -- I dearly miss the days of a greater availability of alfalfa, cotton, and corn silage. (Animal feed was next on the list of this 2015 article, yet Safeway still had ground meat on sale.)

While I'm not saying we should use water irresponsibly, we should take a good look at how it's used, and not mind paying reasonable prices at the grocery store for meat and produce, which, imo, are priced low in comparison to processed foods.

Web Link
Web Link


Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 16, 2021 at 5:41 pm

Bystander is a registered user.

Lesley York is quite right.

There is absolutely no need for a State with an ocean coastline to be worried about water. We should have built desalination plants long before now.

The water wars should be over. We should have an abundance of water, albeit not cheap.

Get those desalination plants built. Pronto.


Posted by Gail Sredanovic
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 19, 2021 at 3:28 am

Gail Sredanovic is a registered user.

Re the comments about drought and desalination. Conservation and restoration measures do not exactly create more water but they can definitely make more water available for use by man and nature. We have been messing up the state's hydrology for a very long time by confining streams and rivers to narrow channels and killing off nature's water engineers, the lowly beaver. Clearcutting of forests has made matters worse. We have also been growing lawns in semi arid places and water intensive crops in the desert as if the supply of water were unlimited. It is not and it never was. Given our present practices, going full bore on desalination is wasteful and premature. Both residents and giant agribusinesses need to conserve and support change that help restore the heal the natural processes. One can hope our officials will give up outmoded policies that make developers and giant agribusinesses happy while the rest of us suffer the consequences. We are a resourceful people and respond to challenges. It is time.


Posted by Liam J.
a resident of another community
on Jul 19, 2021 at 3:40 pm

Liam J. is a registered user.

It is not cost-effective as of yet but recycling urine as they do in outer space would go a long ways towards adapting to water shortages.


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