More breaking news: Desal exec gets to call Peter Gleick by his first name!

[For background, please read my 3/16 post, Desalination: No silver bullet in the Middle East and the comment by Desalter–John Tonner of Water Consultants International (WCI)–and my response: Breaking news: Company that builds desalination plants defends desalination! Therein I childishly mock the several syntactical and grammatical errors in Tonner’s post and tout Peter Gleick of the Pacific Institute as a foremost water expert. This is a small excerpt from Mr. Tonner’s long and generally error-free response–except that oversimplification is one word. Sorry, I can’t help myself. Anyway, after apologizing for his errors and blaming his iPhone, he says:]

. . .You clearly are a follower of the Pacific Institute and Peter. Yes I get to call Mr Gleick by his first name, it makes the dinner and National Academy of Sciences conversation more informal. I agree with much of what Peter says but disagree on many items, including the over simplification of desalination and the role it can play in a balanced portfolio of water supply options.

restrainingorder300Hey,, want fries with that crow? You just got owned! Tonner, unlike you, is on a first-name basis with Peter Gleick!  So. . .what? Guess what, Mr. Tonner, as a devout “follower” of Mr. Gleick, I can call him Peter whenever I want, and after several glasses of wine, Pete! Or Petey, even! The only restriction is that–due to what I consider a violation of my free speech rights–I can only do it from 500 feet in public areas and one mile from his home and office.

So, unlike you, I have never broken bread with the master–despite my repeated and now prohibited invitations–yet I somehow feel so close to him, especially after viewing videos of his talks, such as his recent presentations to the U.S. House and Senate on the urgent necessity to establish a national water policy.

That is the crux of’s reservations about desalination–instead of devising a comprehensive water policy, we as a nation have left it to state, county, and municipal governments to cobble together and maintain their own often antiquated and underfunded water management systems. This has lead to massive inefficiencies and shameful waste–and unproductive squabbles among many states that the media excitedly and thoughtlessly trumpet as “water wars.” It has also created a vacuum of leadership into which the Tonners of the world rush in, babbling corporate-speak mantras like “balanced portfolios of water supply options” and smug, soothing, and irresponsible dismissals of the very serious and easily demonstrated drawbacks of large-scale desalination plants.


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