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The 90 Day Plan

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Friday, January 22, 2010

Drive Thru, Dine In, or To Go?

One lunch from drive-thru meal = 1 cfc free #5 styrofoam container, 1 plastic bag, and 3 plastic salsa containers... on-the-side is wasteful. to-go is wasteful. eat in or eat out. make up your mind.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Today at Aguanomics - Water cops waste $75,000 each

Today at Aguanomics

Water cops waste $75,000 each

Posted: 21 Jan 2010 03:52 AM PST

I've ridiculed the "water cops" idea (see this, this and this) for a long time.

1.       They are a fascist mechanism -- telling you want to do, when and where.

2.       They are a visible form of "education" more than an effective way of increasing water conservation.

3.       They divert resources from more pressing matters. (Even though I bet they are considered "green collar jobs").

And now we get the cost of cops in San Diego [p 497 of this pdf]: $752,370 for 10 FTE positions.* (I don't that includes their transport costs, since they probably drive fleet cars.)

Note the revenue associated with these cops: $0.

Now, I know that cops are supposed to be valuable because they promote water conservation, by their very existence and/or the threat of a fine, but I'd prefer a more-direct mechanism: Raising the price of water.

Higher water prices:

1.       Don't tell you what to do; you choose when and where to use water, and pay accordingly.

2.       Are something we've learned how to respond to LONG ago -- by using less.

3.       Cost nothing. In fact, they generate revenue.

So why does the City of San Diego (and others) have water cops?

§ They prefer to make noise and then impose rationing when it doesn't work.

§ They don't really want to sell less water (because revenue falls).

§ They are bureaucrats who prefer to tell people what to do.

I'd like to hear a better reason. Anyone? Buehler?

Bottom Line: Fire these cops and rehire them to read meters that are billing water at higher prices. They will actually be useful.

* Bureaucrats are amazing: "Adjustment reflects the addition of 10.00 FTE positions and associated non-personnel expenditures to support and implement the Drought Response Level 2 mandatory water use restriction."



Hands-On Rain Harvesting/Tank Installation Workshop

Hands-On Rain Harvesting/Tank Installation Workshop

Sunday, January 31 9am-4pm, Potluck lunch

Class cost: $55

 Are you watching all this rain go down the drain?  Learn about different rain storage options, important steps to remember when implementing any water harvesting strategies and how to use your stored water at this hands-on workshop.   Brook Sarson, water harvesting professional, with H2OME (, along with KC Montgomery, licensed and insured plumber, with Monty’s Plumbing ( will walk you through a 1000 gallon tank installation and a 750 gallon tank installation at a home in Scripps Ranch. 

 The class will start with a site introduction, followed by an hour presentation on rainwater harvesting strategies and considerations.  Then we will discuss the specifics of our site, our materials, and begin work to connect our gutter downspouts through filters to our rainwater tanks. 

 You should walk away from this workshop with enough information to either make an informed decision about what can be done at your site by Brook and KC, or you will know how to install your own water tanks, and have access to resources to help you complete your project.

 Class size is limited, so please RSVP soon to Brook at, or call 619.964.4838, to reserve your spot.  Please bring a dish to share for lunch!


City of San Diego Seeks Nominees for Top Recyclers

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

$350 Million Was Not Enough...


See Your Alert Online

Food & Water Watch: Advocating for our right to safe, affordable, healthy food and water.

Poseidon Resources Just Can't Get Enough
Call Controller Chiang TODAY and urge him to say "No to Poseidon!"


Dear Supporter,

Poseidon Resources is at it again . . . they want more subsidies!

But YOU can stop them.
Call Today

$350 million in public subsidies that the Metropolitan Water District awarded Poseidon Resources last November wasn't enough for the profit-hungry corporation with a record of failure. Poseidon is now looking for authorization to issue half a billion dollars in tax-exempt bonds to build a privately-owned desalination plant in Carlsbad. Poseidon has a failed track record on desalination, but this hasn't stopped them from asking California for  massive tax subsidies to support their project. Say no to these subsidies today!

Next Wednesday, January 27, voting members of the California Debt Limit Allocation Committee (CDLAC) -- Governor Schwarzenegger, Treasurer Lockyer, and Controller Chiang -- will decide whether or not to allow Poseidon Resources to issue $530 million in tax-exempt bonds for their private desalination plant in Carlsbad.

If this sounds familiar, that's because a couple months ago we sent you an email asking you to take action by sending an email to the members of CDLAC. Hundreds of Food & Water Watch supporters emailed CDLAC, but the meeting was rescheduled for Wednesday, January 27. Will you call Controller Chiang and remind him not to approve Poseidon Resources' application to issue $530 million in tax-exempt bonds for their private desalination plant in Carlsbad?

Call Today!

Poseidon's only other major desalination attempt, in 1999 in Tampa Bay, Florida, was a complete failure and is now owned by a public utility. At the same time, it doesn't make sense to support this energy-intensive project that will increase greenhouse emmissions when water conservation and water reuse initiatives have not yet been exhausted.

Call Controller Chiang and tell him that California should not subsidize Posiedon's risky and destructive project!

Corie Lopez and the California Water Team
Food & Water Watch

Food & Water Watch is a non-profit organization working with grassroots organizations around the world to create an economically and environmentally viable future. Through research, public and policymaker education, media, and lobbying, we advocate policies that guarantee safe, wholesome food produced in a humane and sustainable manner and public, rather than private, control of water resources including oceans, rivers, and groundwater. For more information, visit

Talk to Us | Support Us | Subscribe


Water Softeners Increase Sodium content up to 80 mg/liter

Many of the recommendations on water hardness emphasize the safety of hard water and also the studies that show better cardiovascular health with harder water, possibly due to calcium and magnesium dissolved in the hard water, instead of saturating the solution with sodium which is known to have all sorts of harmful effects.  I am not a physician, but after reading a few articles on the issue, this seems like a reasonable assessment of the situation.  For instance, please read the following excerpt:


 “Mechanical water softening units can be permanently installed into the plumbing system to continuously remove calcium and magnesium.  Water softeners operate on the ion exchange process. In this process, water passes through a media bed, usually sulfonated polystyrene beads. The beads are supersaturated with sodium. The ion exchange process takes place as hard water passes through the softening material. The hardness minerals attach themselves to the resin beads while sodium on the resin beads is released simultaneously into the water. When the resin becomes saturated with calcium and magnesium, it must be recharged. The recharging is done by passing a salt (brine) solution through the resin. The sodium replaces the calcium and magnesium which are discharged in the waste water. Hard water treated with an ion exchange water softener has sodium added. According to the Water Quality Association (WQA), the ion exchange softening process adds sodium at the rate of about 8 mg/liter for each grain of hardness removed per gallon of water.

For example, if the water has a hardness of 10 grains per gallon (Hard), it will contain about 80 mg/liter of sodium after being softened in an ion exchange water softener if all hardness minerals are removed.

Because of the sodium content of softened water, some individuals may be advised by their physician, not to install water softeners, to soften only hot water or to bypass the water softener with a cold water line to provide unsoftened water for drinking and cooking; usually to a separate faucet at the kitchen sink.

Softened water is not recommended for watering plants, lawns, and gardens due to its sodium content.”

Ever notice that dead patch by your reverse osmosis outflow pipe where the system recharges and dumps that salt solution on the ground?

The WHO and Wikipedia articles emphasize the importance of the safety of hard water without fully addressing the deleterious effects of a diet with increased sodium content.  It is my understanding that soft water can dissolve heavy metals and increase sodium content in our diets, while a hard water supply purified by an activated charcoal filter will remove contaminants while retaining minerals that are beneficial to cardiovascular health.

 “Health considerations

The World Health Organization says that "there does not appear to be any convincing evidence that water hardness causes adverse health effects in humans."[7]

Some studies have shown a weak inverse relationship between water hardness and cardiovascular disease in men, up to a level of 170 mg calcium carbonate per litre of water. The World Health Organization has reviewed the evidence and concluded the data were inadequate to allow for a recommendation for a level of hardness.[7]

In a review by František Kožíšek, M.D., Ph.D. National Institute of Public Health, Czech Republic there is a good overview of the topic which, unlike the WHO, sets some recommendations for the maximum and minimum levels of calcium (40-80 ppm) and magnesium (20-30 ppm) in drinking water, and a total hardness expressed as the sum of the calcium and magnesium concentrations of 2-4 mmol/L.[8]

Other studies have shown weak correlations between cardiovascular health and water hardness.[9][10][11]

A UK nationwide study, funded by the Department of Health, is investigating anecdotal evidence that childhood eczema may by correlated with hard water.[12]

Very soft water can corrode the metal pipes in which it is carried and as a result the water may contain elevated levels of cadmium, copper, lead and zinc.[7]


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Water Water Everywhere Four: The Bond

By Sheila Kuehl

(Fourth is a series of 
four essays describing the five separate pieces of water legislation passed by the California legislature in late 2009 and signed by the Governor)

The Eleven Billion Dollar Question

Despite the fact that California is hocked up to its eyeballs in debt, an eleven billion, one hundred and forty thousand dollar water bond is proposed for the November ballot this year.  As set forth below, the bond would fund various projects, some of them very good for the people of the state and some benefiting only certain areas.

read more

View article...

Bill to Overturn AB 32 Global Warming Law Defeated



By Ann Notthoff
Natural Resources Defense Council

On Monday, the Assembly Natural Resources Committee rejected AB 118, legislation that would have overturned California's landmark global warming law that has enjoyed broad bipartisan support. Not only would AB 118 have jeopardized public health and the environment, it would have imposed economic harm at a time when California is already struggling to regain our financial footing.  

read more

View article...

Desal and “Carbon”ated Water: Coastal Commission Should Make the Carlsbad Project Offset All of Its Carbon Impacts

Desal and "Carbon"ated Water: Coastal Commission Should Make the Carlsbad Project Offset All of Its Carbon Impacts


By Jonas Minton
Planning and Conservation League

Carbon emissions and water supply are two sides of the same coin. In California nearly 20 percent of our electrical energy is used to move water around the State, treat it for use and then treat it again for disposal. 

All of that energy generation emits huge amounts of carbon to our atmosphere.  So when Poseidon Corporation claims that its proposed desalination plant in Carlsbad will have a "zero carbon footprint" it may sound too good to be true. Well, that's because it is.

In February the Coastal Commission will be reviewing the accuracy of information submitted by Poseidon for its permit to build the largest desalination facility in the Western Hemisphere in Carlsbad, California. The issue is Poseidon's claimed CO2 offsets. 

read more

View article...

90-Day Plan - 90 Ways to Save Water

Below the Surface - Atchafalaya River Expedition featured in Reader's Digest

Kristian Gustavson receives the American Red Cross "Hero of the Heartland" Award

David Gallo Shows Underwater Astonishments

Below The Surface Podcast

Robert Ballard's TED talk is an inspiring, optimistic look at the future hope of ocean exploration

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