The Daily Mirror

Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

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Visions of tomorrow

1957_0613_desalt

June 13, 1957
Los Angeles

There was a time when IBM's standard office equipment included signs that said "THINK." Although  William B. Thompson was an economist with Prudential Insurance, rather than IBM, he was certainly thinking about the future. He couldn't have been more wrong, but at least he was thinking.

Thompson predicted that by 1990, California would be desalinating sea water using electricity generated by atomic power ("as plentiful as the water," the Mirror said).

In fact, the reclaimed water would be so plentiful that the "Colorado River Aqueduct may eventually have the function of delivering converted sea water inland, rather than carrying water to the coast," Thompson said.

The initial price, 12 cents per 1,000 gallons, would be too costly for farmers, but affordable for cities, Thompson said.

And with the assuredness of true visionary, Thompson said: "At the very least, we can expect the freeing of water from the Owens and Colorado rivers for agricultural purposes."

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