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Voice: State Senate candidate opposes fallowing

June 16, 2002

The Imperial Valley is a national treasure. For over 100 years it has been one of the most productive farming communities in the world. The brains and sweat of our forefathers tamed the Colorado River and brought water to Imperial County, turning the desert into a fertile oasis. Agriculture is the economic heart of this valley and water is its lifeblood. To fallow these fields and destroy this way of life would be a crime.

Water is Imperial Valley's most precious resource. Not one drop of that water should be sent to San Diego — not until our coastal neighbors conserve their own water!

San Diego has two massive water recycling plants, one in North County and another in South Bay. They have a combined recycling capacity of 45 million gallons per day of water that could and should be used on lawns and golf courses. Taxpayers paid over half a billion dollars to build these plants and their infrastructure, yet they are hardly being used — only 1 million gallons per day is currently sold.

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If San Diego recycled the other 44 million gallons per day (approximately 50,000 acre-feet per year), we could avoid one quarter of the proposed Imperial Valley water transfer. If all new residences were required to install on-site gray water recycling systems (and existing homes were induced to back-fit them) water usage could be cut in half in San Diego and there would be no need for Imperial Valley water. Finally, San Diego dumps 175 million gallons of advance primary treated water per day in the Pacific Ocean (209,000 acre- feet per year) that could be further treated to meet industrial and irrigation standards if we are truly in a water emergency.

Some say fallowing is necessary to save the Salton Sea. I agree with Congressman Duncan Hunter that fallowing would only offer a temporary solution at the permanent expense of the Valley's agricultural economy. To save the Salton Sea we must look at permanent solutions such as evaporation ponds and other proposals that address the issue of salinity levels head on.

Conservation by coastal communities can reduce or eliminate the need for a water transfer. Even if some water must go, there is absolutely no reason why we should be forced to accept a fallow-based transfer when a conservation-based transfer could and should work. I pledge here and now that I will fight with every fiber of my being against bureaucratic attempts to destroy the lives, property and hard-won progress of the people of the Imperial Valley.

MICHAEL GIORGINO

Coronado

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