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What’s $50 Million Buy?


As the article, Grim and Grimmer explained, the State Water Project costs Santa Barbara County $50-million-plus a year and delivered only 5 percent last year. But to say that it “proved essential in moving water from Northern California” misses the point entirely. If we just had the desal plant that was voted on in 1991, and not state water, the desal plant (total cost $34 million) would have been running and upgraded as the new environmentally friendly technology came online. All of Santa Barbara would now have a reliable supply of water at a fraction of the cost we are shelling out now.

We never needed both desal and state water … and the state water that isn’t there is costing us dearly.

Wouldn’t it be sounder in every way to get rid of the State Water Project contracts and just rely on desal? I can think of a lot better ways to spend $50 million a year than on pipes that don’t have water when we need it, and when they do have water, we have no place to put it all. State water was a bad idea in 1991 and is still a bad idea today for the very same reasons that were laid out in 1991.

And then there are the Twin Tunnels; the huge expense they would add for no more water is insane. But as long as we are locked into the State Water Project contracts, we will be responsible for our share of the costs of whatever projects the Department of Water Resources chooses to pursue.

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