(…California might just make perfumers…a lot of green)

California’s extreme drought situation has forced its Governor Jerry Brown to issue a historic mandatory order…requiring everyone to make a further 25% reduction in their water use until further notice. Being the cooperative citizens that they are, most Californians are now pondering the best ways and means to comply with that order.

Since we’re residing there we’re doing the same. For example…we’ll now plan to only shave every other day…brush our teeth with cognac instead of water…shower just once a week… flush the toilet just twice daily…and otherwise limit our consumption of coffee or tea to only breakfast and lunch…and…use only paper plates and throw-away plastic utensils at mealtimes, to meet that water conservation goal.

We even considered calling the Governor to suggest he further mandate that we all share any showers with someone else (preferably of the opposite gender), but, upon further reflection, concluded that such an idea would not work too well in California because, folks being the way they are here, they would probably be so focused on that “sharing” thing… they’d forget about the shower water running on…so no conservation would result.

While all these efforts might conserve and save water, we suspect their collateral effects will end up having negative impacts on Californians’ personal hygiene habits, giving the state a somewhat odd aroma of unusual…bouquet. Of course, the consequences deriving from that means…being bone dry and deep brown, California might soon make perfumers…a lot of green.

All kidding aside, however, we can’t help but wonder at the state’s lack of leadership foresight about such a drought eventuality. It’s been a cyclical pattern of its climate history, and its early Spanish settlers therefore named it –California- meaning…oven hot…for good reason. This particular drought period began almost five years ago, so why weren’t alternative means of producing sufficient water for both agricultural and urban use considered and put in place…before things became so acute? That’s a good question, and every tax-paying voter here should be asking it of their legislators.

Here’s one way it could have been done (and probably should now be considered for the future). Since the entire state faces the Pacific Ocean, the largest in the world and, since the state of the art in desalinization technologies are what they are today, why not set up a string of such plants all along its coastline? Whenever such drought conditions occurred those plants could then be activated to produce backup water resources.


Such facilities would not need to be industrial-sized ones if the tried and true systems used aboard ships were adapted for such onshore installations. While these are diesel- powered, they are readily convertible for fuelling by natural gas…making them economical, reliable, and low cost, to operate. No storage or holding facilities would be needed. Only appropriate pipelines to the nearest reservoirs would be necessary, so that their fresh water output could help maintain reservoir water levels as close to normal as possible. Since these already have their distribution infrastructures in place, no further pipelines for that purpose would be needed. Operating on a 24/7 basis, the combined water tonnage output from such plants could offset any drought condition reductions in natural water resources.

It should also be noted here that such facilities would have a useful operating life of not less than 25 years, and even beyond, so from an ROI perspective, a state-sponsored and funded program to create such a system would be tax revenues well-spent.