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ICO Article: Davidge meets map deadline

This article was published in the
Independent Coast Observer
on July 5, 2002.

Davidge meets map deadline
By Julie Verran

Courtesy Independent Coast Observer, Gualala, CA

Water mogul Ric Davidge met his July 1 deadline for submitting maps to the State Department of Water Resources. They are preparing public notices now and hope to open the public comment period in July, said Engineer Kathryn Gaffney.

“This notice will go through a lot of review. There’s so much to worry about,” Gaffney said Tuesday, adding that there is a very long mailing list.

Meanwhile, Davidge is priming the pump. The June issue of US Water News has a piece by Davidge provided by the Freshwater Society, a Minnesota non-profit. The title of Davidge’s piece is “San Diego considering several solutions to water supply problems.”

In contrast to Davidge’s presentation to The Sea Ranch Forum in March, where he was very open about his project in Turkey and his proposed projects here and elsewhere, in his “Freshwater Forum” article he never mentions that he does water bags. He just touts them.

He has kind words for San Diego:

“In response to their growing concern for future water supplies, the City of San Diego took a bold and innovative step two years ago by asking for new ideas for obtaining 20,000 acre-feet of fresh water a year beginning in 2004. This strategic and open action by a community with vision and an understanding that ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ did not prescribe a solution as have so many other governments, but rather challenged both public and private sectors to find potential solutions in the free market of ideas.”

He goes on to list four choices San Diego has: getting more water from Los Angeles; desalination, upstream water harvesting in the region, and “Trans-ocean Conveyance.” He concludes that the latter is the best, so long as it is done using water bags. In conclusion, Davidge writes:

“Ocean front communities that have seen their water sources dry up in the summer due to drought and upstream over appropriation now have an alternative. Additionally, with the use of a water harvest system that does not remove water from a river’s hydrology until it reaches the sea, water sources that have not been available in the past may now offer needed water in a manner that is not harmful to the environment. The application of this harvest design also offers additional upstream restoration opportunities for fish and wildlife habitat.”

Although Davidge continues to claim that his plan would not take water out until it has left the rivers, in order to avoid pulling salt water he would need have intakes about two and a half miles upstream from the river mouth on the Gualala River, and up to four and a half miles up the Albion River, according to knowledgeable estimates.

Perhaps Davidge does not count estuaries as part of rivers.

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