Denny’s Daily Zinger: California Drought: How to Market It Away

Four of the nearly 16,000 desalination plants across the globe.

Back in 1974, I was first alerted to the water crises facing Spaceship Earth. “Chinatown,” Roman Polanski’s masterpiece starring Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway and John Huston, was a wake-up call.
These days, the drought in California is a catastrophe.

Gov. Jerry Brown is urging Californians not to flush for everything, take fewer showers, and conserve.

Alas, with little snow and no rain, light bathing, flushing and no watering lawns amount to wee-weeing in an empty swimming pool.

The Solution
Back in 1974, when I was dabbling in the stock market, I mentioned desalination to my broker. It turned out the concept of “desal” has been around since 1684.

Charlie, my broker, put me in Ionics, the leading maker of machinery to take sea water and turn it into fresh water.

My few shares of Ionics went nowhere. I sold them. GE bought Ionics and I forgot about it.

Today Saudi Arabia, with 30 million population, has desal facilities up the kazoo.

As of 2011, some 15,988 desal plants are supplying fresh water to 300 million people worldwide.

A Marketer Steps In
Thirty or 40 desal plants along the West Coast (with several dedicated to Arizona and Las Vegas) would save California.

What are needed are a savvy marketer and an IPO to raise private investors’ money so GE and others can start building the things.

Leave governments the hell out.

The alternative: Shut down California.

Takeaway to Consider

  • “When in doubt, do the obvious.” —Franklin Watts

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His next book will be “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at or contact him at

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at

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  • David


    We have "desal" plants here in California. They use quite a bit of electricity, which is not in abundance. Do you remember San Onofre? Aside from conservation, new fossil fuel power plants have been constructed to avert shortages. Roof-top solar is starting to make a difference as well, which our Governor has strongly advocated..

    Before we encourage the private sector to follow your advice and take the plunge, you may not be aware that some of the those same energy guzzling water plants have been mothballed in the Golden State.

    We expect dry and wet years, and don’t panic when mother nature throws us a curveball. It goes with the territory when you live in paradise. Our state is not going to shrivel away, or the Pacific Ocean for that matter, so don’t worry about your next LA vacation.


  • mikewrite


    I agree, leave the government out of it.