Readers Respond

>> Recruit the newcomers
I’m responding to Jim Wood’s Point of View (“Marin Up Close,” February) about the lack of involvement of people living in Marin. We moved here from the East Coast two years ago and spent considerable time trying to get involved. Although there are activities in which to participate, the way in is not obvious for newcomers, who can often be a rich source of volunteerism as folks try to become acculturated.

In Pennsylvania, each county had a newcomers’ organization, which welcomed new arrivals and help get them into activities. Meetings were sponsored by organizations looking for volunteers; realtors were often the way new arrivals discovered this network. We were disappointed that with the exception of in Tiburon and Belvedere, newcomer groups do not exist in Marin. This may be a missed opportunity for those wanting to promote more involvement in local activities.
Mike Doodson, Corte Madera

>> It’s about the water
At recent MMWD public hearings regarding a $200 million desalination plant, speakers repeatedly voiced concerns that the alternative of conservation has not been properly addressed by MMWD’s directors. My testimony stated MMWD has gotten our machines, our devices, and our plumbing to conserve water, but has done nothing to get our people to conserve water. A well-informed speaker stated peak-load summer demand is almost entirely tied to landscaping and gardening. How can Marin citizens stand by while MMWD builds this enormous, expensive and environmentally risky facility simply so we can water our lawns? Marin Magazine has an opportunity to educate readers on ways to transform our homes and gardens with arid, drought-tolerant landscaping that reflects the true beauty of California, not the green lawns and shrubs of “East Coast Americana.”
Wendy Richards, via e-mail

Regarding Point of View (March), I believe spending $115 million, about $500 per person in Marin, is good insurance to supply approximately 18 percent of our water usage. Agreed, producing water in this manner generates greenhouse gases (it takes power to desalinate). However, the plant would only be needed in drought years, and I remember those years of no showers, doing dishes by hand, dead lawns, and smelly toilets. Desalination sounds better than a repeat. By the way, Marin Municipal Water District’s water capacity is in the billions of gallons, not trillions.
Bret Andrews, Mill Valley

I read Point of View (March) about a desalination plant and agree 200 percent. My wife and I bought here in 1973 and had to deal with the drought. It’s time we take care of this problem once and for all. We have a swimming pool and water evaporates from it as it does from our reservoirs. Conservation is not a real solution; “use it or lose it” should be the battle cry. We need to get a desalination plant built now.
Warren Ellis, San Rafael

Jim Wood’s “Marin Water Update” was outstanding—well written, nicely balanced, and leading the reader to an inescapable conclusion: not pursuing desalination is utter folly. But I have one caveat: consideration should be given to building a distribution system for “gray water” (waste water after tertiary treatment). This would replace freshwater for garden use. Building it would cost at least as much as a desal plant, but operating costs are significantly lower. It’s an egregious waste to devote half of Marin’s superb-quality water to gardening. In closing, keep up the good work. The still, small voice of sanity needs to be heard occasionally.
Tom Guldman, Kentfield

Now that it has rained a lot, interest in a water solution has probably gone on a back burner. I tasted the pilot desalinated water at the Marin County Fair and it was fine. Having a degree in chemistry, I know you can get pollutants and toxins out of sea water just as well as fresh water. There is no reason Sonoma County would give us water if they needed it for their own population. I do believe a drought will happen again and, unless we do something now, we’ll have no recourse. I agree with Jim Wood’s article.
Nancy Dunbar, Mill Valley

>> Green, green and more green
Marin’s March 2008 issue is filled with articles touting the eco-correctness of Marin County. Green homes, sustainable practices in local hotels, sustainable travel, Go Solar Marin, even the ecological fashion choices of a professor and an ad for an “eco broker.” I salute Marin Magazine for promoting these ideas and urge you to continue in this direction. But I also hope you will promote serious conservation as a solution to the water crisis in Marin County and the world. Water conservation should be a way of life for everyone in the 21st century.
Margaret Partlow, Ross

Letters to the editor may be edited for clarity and brevity. Send letters to Marin Magazine, One Harbor Drive, Suite 208, Sausalito, CA 94965. Or e-mail jwood@marinmagazine.com.