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Note: This is another segment of an interview with Huntington Beach mayor  Keith Bohr, conducted in November, 2008.

Water Conservation in Huntington Beach.

Q: What are some specific things we can do in Huntington Beach to conserve water?

Mayor Keith Bohr, Huntington Beach, California

Mayor Keith Bohr, Huntington Beach, California

Well you start with education before you make it a law. Don’t water down your driveways, sweep them. Do your sprinklers every other day. Only do them for five minutes.

People already know that. Right? They’ve been educated about that.

There’s still room for a ton of improvement. I’m trying to educate my gardener still. It’s a constant battle. What they’re doing with groundwater replenishment, that’s huge. A huge expense and I think it’s been well worth it. Don’t go make it salt water and try to desal it. Let’s capture it early. Put it in, let it filter itself through the whole normal process basically. I say do all three prongs. But then as we get closer, mandatory; it’s the law, you get fines if you get caught watering your driveway down. If you have a swimming pool like I do you can’t change that water but once every five years. You end up going on a shared water system and you get punished like on an electric bill.

Do you think there’s any chance of getting that passed on this new city council?

I would like to maximize the education and figure out how the gap relates on those tiers, like how many kids and people are in your household. You have to do several things to hit different baselines. If you have six kids obviously you should use more water than somebody who has no kids…When I lived in a condo for 15 years I had an electric bill of $15. Then I moved into a house where’s it’s several hundred and I go `holy schmoley, what’s going on?’ I went to fluorescents. So you pay attention. So the tier system would help incentify that, right? You think that water’s cheap. It is. You think of water, it’s something that’s so fragile and so scarce, it is…So it makes you wonder why it isn’t already more incentified. So I think that one of the things that we absolutely are going to. I don’t know if that’s going to happen on our term or not, but we need to start looking at that, absolutely. (more…)

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By John Earl
OC Voice Editor

Based on information taken from a variety of sources, including the H.B. City Council Candidates Forum held on Sept. 18, as well as from Voice news stories, interviews and from campaign literature provided by the candidates.

Desalination plant

Desalination plant

Q. How would you solve the potential water shortage crisis in Huntington Beach and should ocean water be privatized for corporate profit? Is the Poseidon desalination plant (planned for southeast Huntington Beach) a good idea?

Kalmick: Conservation. Encourage but not mandate people to get rid of their lawns. Desalination for Huntington Beach is the wrong solution. The location is wrong and no one has offered to buy the water yet. Poseidon Inc. hasn’t successfully built a plant yet. Its Tampa Bay desalination plant went through two bankruptcies before the municipal water district had to take it over. And the H.B. plant would be twice the size. We don’t need it. Privatized water sets a bad precedent for water wars that are allegedly coming in the next 20 years. A 2007 Coastal Commission report raises questions about the project that Poseidon hasn’t answered. Electricity costs for running the plant are double what Poseidon said. Doesn’t make sense financially to build it.

Fact check: The Poseidon plant will be built with private funds, although the company seeks government subsidies in order to keep a lower price for the water it will sell. (more…)

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