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Tue Jun 8, 2021, 11:20 AM

In California's Drier Future, What's the Best Investment for Securing Water?


In California’s Drier Future, What’s the Best Investment for Securing Water?
Experts agree that cities need diverse water supplies, but desalination plants remain controversial.

BY KATE WHEELING




(YES! Magazine) Once again, California is in a drought. Much of Northern California and the Central Valley are experiencing “acute water supply shortfalls,” and the Sierra Nevada snowpack, a critical water source for Californians up and down the state during the dry season, is all but gone already—just 6% of normal for this time of year.

California’s water system, already stressed by the dueling needs of massive urban centers and its agricultural sector, is crumbling in the face of climate change. The state’s climate is becoming increasingly unstable, oscillating between periods of drought and deluge, which is making the water supply hard to predict. To make sure they can deliver enough water to California’s farms and cities going forward, water managers are focusing on shoring up local supplies.

But not everyone agrees on the best way to do that. Nowhere is this clearer than in Orange County’s Huntington Beach, the site of a proposed desalination plant.

First proposed in the late 1990s by Poseidon Water, which has developed several large-scale desalination facilities around the world, including one just down the coast in Carlsbad, the Huntington Beach project has been beset by shifting permitting regulations, legal challenges, and political turmoil for decades.

The plant inched closer to reality last month with the approval of a key permit from the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board, after a set of marathon hearings that showcased the controversy surrounding the plant. The sessions began with the board discussing calls for three members to recuse themselves after they privately communicated about the project with California EPA chief Jared Blumenfeld, a supporter of the plant, and they ended with the vice chair visibly sipping from a wine glass just before the vote. .............(more)

https://www.yesmagazine.org/environment/2021/05/26/california-drought-diverse-water-supplies




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Reply In California's Drier Future, What's the Best Investment for Securing Water? (Original post)
marmar Jun 8 OP
Bayard Jun 8 #1
demosincebirth Jun 8 #2
FakeNoose Jun 8 #3
NickB79 Jun 9 #4
hydrolastic Jun 12 #5
Hortensis Jun 13 #6

Response to marmar (Original post)

Tue Jun 8, 2021, 11:41 AM

1. It would help

If the big ag companies weren't siphoning off so much available water to irrigate crops. Boswell is the worst.

What happened to Tulare Lake:

"Tulare Lake was once the largest body of fresh water west of the Mississippi, home to thousands of migratory birds that nested among the tall tule reeds that encircled its shores.

Today the dry lake bed forms the core of the vast land holdings of the J. G. Boswell Company, whose 150,000 acres make it the largest private landowner in California."

"The federal government generously aided them in the monumental task of harnessing the water of four rivers that carry the snowmelt of the Sierra Nevada in the spring. Those rivers once nourished Tulare Lake; now they irrigate the lands of Boswell and the other giant agribusinesses that dominate the valley."

https://www.nytimes.com/2004/01/08/us/spun-and-unspun-tales-of-a-california-cotton-king.html

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Response to Bayard (Reply #1)

Tue Jun 8, 2021, 12:57 PM

2. Start building de-salination plants. We should have started years ago.

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Response to Bayard (Reply #1)

Tue Jun 8, 2021, 07:59 PM

3. Why isn't desalinated water used for crops?

It's lower quality than the mountain spring water, am I right? The good water should be used for drinking water and other human use. Let the lower quality water be used for farming.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Wed Jun 9, 2021, 10:54 PM

4. The best investment is buying up houses and giving residents one-way airline tickets out of state

It would be the most cost-effective way to conserve water. The Southwest is heading for a hard drought future, and can't support the population it currently has without multi-trillion-dollar infrastructure investments that may still be insufficient.

The alternative is an uncontrolled descent where millions of citizens stay too long, lose everything and become climate refugees, flooding FEMA camps or becoming modern-day Okies heading north and east.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Sat Jun 12, 2021, 12:04 PM

5. Prolly gunna get intelligence shamed for saying this

But the key is fusion power. Once this is achieved seawater can be turned into steam to run electrical turbines and condensed into freshwater anywhere in the world. I know the running joke is "its still thirty years away" for the last forty years. I read somewhere the reactions are getting up to 30 seconds sustained.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Sun Jun 13, 2021, 10:53 AM

6. Many actions become a solution. The water that runs down the LA River alone

to the ocean after a big storm would supply LA for most of a year. I used to live there and watch torrents pouring into the big drains our hillside street required, on its way through over 30 miles of mostly concrete channels to the ocean.

Of course we should be reusing the fresh water used by indoor plumbing. It's already captured, then thrown away. Again, again, again and again.

Scientists believe we're close to usable nuclear fusion energy to apply to using the fresh water we have and to ocean water.

Comparatively unlimited energy won't eliminate the other big problems of large-scale desalinization, but it'll be enormously enabling.

And on a personal level, why ARE lawns still extremely common and shade trees and beautiful evergreen shrubbery and other groundcovers far less so? Lawn is not the only, and certainly far from the best way, to achieve lush green coolness in most of California.

Etc, etc, etc.



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