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Barbara Szemenyei, San Juan Capistrano

My question to you gentlemen (on the Planning Commission) is: as you all live in South Orange County, and San Juan Capistrano, are you OK with the already traffic glut we are all enduring?

My next question is: are you gentlemen OK with our state running out of water? And, lastly, are you OK with adding more people to an already strained city water supply?

This past Sunday, Capetown, South Africa, with a 4 million population, was going to turn off their taps of water due to their drought. They are now going into winter, so they decided to postpone the shutoff hoping they will get rain before winter’s end. They have begun training their law enforcement to manage the chaos when they have to turn off the taps. Los Angeles is on the list for big cities waiting in the wings for their turn.

My husband, Steve, and I worked in Durban, South Africa on a Habitat for Humanity job and their climate is identical to California’s.

Southern California has been functioning on only 48 hours of drenching rain for almost seven years. Before rain, our lower water basin was taking on salt water, and to avoid damage to a pump on one of our wells with low water levels, it had to be turned off.

We are now into another phase of this drought, the worst in California history. Capetown people that can afford to, are moving out. We may have to leave. I would like to hold off as long as we can, and that means I cannot accept any more development at this time in San Juan Capistrano, my home and yours.

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comments (1)

  • Well said, Barbara.

    Virtual water is something that is seldom described.

    People use water for direct and indirect purposes. Direct purposes include bathing, drinking and cooking. In most developed countries, urban water users are connected to water through their municipal water delivery system and their home plumbing system. People turn on the tap, water comes out and they use it. Indirect water (also called “virtual water”) use refers to the water used to produce the goods and services others need and enjoy.

    For example, think about the water needed to make a box of cereal so you can enjoy a bowl of corn flakes? The flakes are crispy and dry, so they may wonder how water is involved at all. To grow, manufacture and package food products such as corn flakes takes a huge amount of water. The corn was almost certainly irrigated while it was being grown, and the factory that manufactures the flakes used water in almost every step of the process, from cleaning the corn before the manufacturing process started to rinsing away what was left behind. Even the paper box that holds the flakes required large quantities of water to produce.

    How much water does it take to make:

    • an avocado: 43 gallons
    • a gallon of orange juice: 272.2 gallons
    • a 200gm bag of potato chips: 48.9 gallons
    • a pair of jeans: 2,866 gallons
    • a pound of beef: 1,581 gallons
    • a cheeseburger (1/3 pound beef patty, I slice of cheese, slice of tomato, a lettuce leaf, and bun): 698.5 gallons
    • a pound of pork sausage: 1,176.7 gallons
    • a pound of butter: 3,602.3 gallons
    • One large egg: 22.8 gallons
    • One pound of rice: 200 gallons

    Figures obtained from The Green Blue Book: The Simple Water Savings Guide to Everything in Your Life by Thomas M. Kostigen

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