As the consultant making the presentation made clear, the entire water planning effort was founded on the "demand" model. The premise of the City's water strategy is this: (1) Figure out what "demand" will be; (2) Fill that demand.
I suggested that maybe the City should do its water planning the other way around. How about this, I asked: (1) The City should determine how much water the City can supply, using economically available and environmentally sustainable techniques: (2) The City then lives within the available water supply.
Radical thought! This didn't go over all that well with the City folks present.
The next day, as I looked at the detention pond outside my front door, I wondered why we couldn't capture and store the water that big storms produce, and then make it available to supply the City's needs. The water outside my front door was going to be flushed, very quickly, into the Monterey Bay, and then would be lost forever as a freshwater supply.
Well, maybe not forever. There is the hydrologic cycle, of course, but there is also the City's still adopted plan. Turn seawater into freshwater by adding huge amounts of energy to manufacture fresh water from the salt water offshore. That technique (called desalination) sucks up marine organisms and kills them as the water enters the desalination plant, and then releases brine at the end of the process which further degrades the marine environment.
I still think my way of doing water planning is the "right" way to do it. First we see what Nature makes available. Then, we live within that limit.
The other way of doing water planning (the "fill the demand method") means we ultimately have to "manufacture water," turning salt water into freshwater in what amounts to a "water factory," like the one shown below. That's costly. And it's environmentally damaging.
I still think my way of doing water planning is the "right" way to do it! Let's live within the supplies that Nature makes available, realizing that right now we are wasting a lot of those supplies!
(1) - Personal Photo