Linda Cooley, San Juan Capistrano

Frequent business travel takes me to all regions of the United States and beyond.

This past spring and summer, I traveled within California quite a bit and sadly have seen the effects of the severe drought throughout our state.

The drought has negatively impacted water quality in many parts of our state—other areas had water quality problems prior to the drought condition. I have been advised by hotel staff not to drink the tap water or even brush teeth with it. The odor of the water coming from the tap in some California cities and towns is terrible, even taking a shower is unpleasant.

Then I come home to San Juan Capistrano. The water from my tap at home is odorless and it tastes just fine. I attribute the difference to our groundwater recovery plant and I applaud our city’s leadership and staff for originating and maintaining the plant.

While I follow local news and am cognizant of the issues that may impact our water rates in the future, the fact is that in San Juan Capistrano we have clean, clear, odorless drinkable water. We take it for granted while many other California residents pay premium rates for water of far less quality than ours.

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comments (3)

  • You attribute good water quality to the ground water plant yet 60% of our water is imported.

  • Thank you, Linda. For the moment we have clean, odorless water to drink, cook and bathe with. We are, as you point out, fortunate in comparison to other cities, due in part to our previous city councils having had the foresight to build the ground water recovery plant.

    Unfortunately, if this extended “exceptional” drought continues another 12 to 18 months, we may very well be out of water. Our situation is compounded by both population growth and the fact that oil companies throughout the United States have injected more than 30 trillion gallons of toxic liquid deep into the earth, using broad expanses of the nation’s geology as an invisible dumping ground.

    This past July California officials ordered an emergency shut-down of 11 oil and gas waste injection sites and a review more than 100 others in our drought-wracked Central Valley, out of fear that companies may have been pumping fracking fluids and other toxic waste into drinking water aquifers. According to the cease and desist orders issued by the state, it appears that at least seven injection wells have likely pumped more than 3-billion gallons of toxic waste into fresh water aquifers protected by the law; aquifers which we depend on to supply portions of our drinking and farming irrigation water.

    Unfortunately, California law only protects a fraction of the waters that the federal Safe Drinking Water Act requires. Water that we are ALL dependent on since we import the majority of our water.

    Sadly, the City Council has refused to address the issues of hydraulic fracturing and injection wells. Mayor Allevato believes a ban on hydraulic fracturing is a State/Federal issue, but with oil money pouring into the statehouse, and not having $15 million to buy myself a seat at the table, I view the local approach the one most-likely to succeed. More than 200 localities in New York state banned together to ban fracking within their city limits, forcing their governor to continue a statewide moratorium. We can, and should, do the same.

    Citizens throughout the state are particularly concerned about the industry’s use and influence on our precious water resources; just not here in San Juan Capistrano where our elected officials have turned a blind eye to the threat.

    In the meantime, Food and Water Watch reports that Arroyo Grande, Berkeley, Beverly Hills, Cambria Community Services District, Carson, Compton, Culver City, Fairfax, Los Angeles, Los Angeles Community College District, Mar Vista Community Council, Los Angeles, Marin County, Oakland, Rampart Village Neighborhood Council, Los Angeles, San Luis Obispo, San Francisco, Sebastopol and Sonoma, have banned fracking since the first of the year. We should be doing the same by enacting the following resolution:

    “It is hereby resolved that the people of San Juan Capistrano, California, have a right to clean air, pure water and the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment. San Juan Capistrano’s public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the City of San Juan Capistrano conserves and maintains them for the benefit of all the people.

    “Therefore, it is resolved that the technology known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, used to recover oil and gas from shale formations, acidizing, as well as the use of injection wells for the storage of fracking waste water and fluids, are permanently banned within the city limits of San Juan Capistrano and adjacent ocean.”

    If you agree that we have a right to clean air, pure water and the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of our environment, then tell tomorrow’s council members to pass the above ban.

  • Wow can anyone be gullible enough to believe that the it is the lack of rain that makes Ca. water so scarce. FRACKING is the main cause of water being scarce.
    California is fracking its self into oblivion. And as the elections prove cash can buy any seat in congress and the senate what makes anyone think that San Juan Capistrano is immuned and its government is also immuned to the money buying into the government.
    If the people of San Juan Capistrano want clean water they need to make sure they force the government of SJC into putting it in place by voting them out and putting in a government that will do what the people want not the money people.
    Every state that has approved fracking has more water problems than states that haven’t approved fracking. Common sense is lacking in the people who are in government now.
    Joanna has the facts straight and as I travel across the country which I do all the time I see exactly what she is talking about. Clean water and no problems with interruptions of service or quality in states that do not allow fracking. But in states that do smelly water (i will not even bathe in or shower in.) contaminated with stuff that smells like chemicals or has an smell like a plant that refines crude oil. And in some of those areas staying in a bed and breakfast is no better the people are having so many problems with their water that they cant use it. Some of the wells have been in use for over 200 years and are now unusable.
    People of San Juan Capistrano PLEASE listen to Joanna and others who will tell you your apathy will come back and bite you taking your one thing that supports life on this planet Human life the water. Now you are bracing for the Japan problem wait till you have no water to drink.
    Renee Chevalier

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