Topic: Desalination

Overview

Desalination

Recurrent droughts and uncertainties about future water supplies have led several California communities to look to saltwater for supplemental supplies through a process known as desalination.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Poseidon Water could receive millions in state bonds for Huntington Beach plant

The controversial Poseidon Water seawater desalination plant in Huntington Beach could be in line to receive millions in state funds from the California Debt Limit Allocation Committee. The committee met Wednesday, a three-hour meeting during which it partially decided how to divide up more than $4.3 billion in tax exempt Private Activity Bonds that are available for distribution in 2022. Most of the money — about $3.7 billion — will go to qualified residential rental programs…. However, the committee also voted to allocate about $510 million to other exempt facilities, which include Poseidon.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Opinion: Water district board member lays out plan to build 3-year supply

This year, our reservoirs were reaching near historic lows in September. We were faced with the realistic prospect of running out of water by the summer of 2022. Then the “atmospheric river” storm in October set rainfall records in Marin. Despite predictions of a dry winter, the rain continued and now five of our seven reservoirs are full, eliminating the danger of running out of water this summer. The pendulum swung fast. But the lessons of the past year are clear: We must prepare now for what broad scientific consensus tells us the future holds, particularly the extreme swings in precipitation due to climate change.
-Written by Monty Schmitt, representing San Rafael’s District 2 as a member of the Marin Municipal Water District Board of Directors.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Technological solutions to droughts

Perennial water shortages in California will likely only grow worse due to climate change. But emerging technologies offer hope—if Californians can stop taking water for granted, says David Feldman, UCI professor of urban planning & public policy and director of Water UCI. Water shortages will become more severe as both droughts and floods become more intense, with less rain and snow falling during dry seasons and more falling during wet ones. Capturing the excess precipitation and saving it for dry periods will also only get more challenging.

Aquafornia news KOLD - Tucson

Some taking Arizona’s water future with a grain of salt

Gov. Doug Ducey says he’s all in for desalination to augment Arizona’s water supply which has taken a big hit during the prolonged drought. … Desalination has been talked about in Arizona for a long time even with the construction of the Central Arizona Project, which supplies most of the water used by Phoenix and Tucson. Seven states use Colorado River water and with unprecedented growth, Lake Mead and Lake Powell are now at only 30% capacity and dropping.

Related articles: 

Aquafornia news Insurance Journal

Arizona eyeing $1B water plant to help with drought

Gov. Doug Ducey has proposed setting aside $1 billion to remove the salt from sea water and bring it to Arizona, a major legacy project as he enters his eighth and final year in office. The Republican governor previewed the plan but offered few details in his annual state of the state address, delivered to a joint session of the House and Senate. … Lawmakers also set aside $200 million last year for future water infrastructure.

Aquafornia news Voice of OC

As OC digs deeper for drinking water, worries about contamination arise

Due to California’s ongoing drought, cities in North and Central Orange County have a greater risk of being exposed to drinking water pollution as they rely mostly from groundwater sources. According to attorney and water policy expert Felicia Marcus, who is also the William C. Landreth Visiting Fellow at Stanford University, regional officials hope to purify this groundwater and are also actively pursuing collaborations with local water districts in order to obtain clean drinking water for its residents. South Orange County, though, is not affected by this dilemma as at least 90% of its water is imported.

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Environmentalists sound alarm over proposed water initiative

A proposed ballot measure that would dedicate $100 billion to bolster California’s water supply is drawing a sharp rebuke, not only for the amount of spending but also for the dramatic sidesteps it would allow in the environmental review process. For example, the proposal would make the controversial plan for a Huntington Beach desalination plant eligible for a huge taxpayer subsidy — even though the private, for-profit Poseidon Water company currently intends to pay for the $1.4 billion in construction costs. 

Aquafornia news Voice of OC

Opinion: Will Poseidon’s HB desal plant take state money away from low-income housing?

The Poseidon Water company has asked for $1.1 billion from a pool of state money to help finance a controversial desalination plant proposed for Huntington Beach. It’s a prospect which critics argue could take those limited state dollars away from other projects that also qualify for the money but need it more.  Like low-income housing. The state’s housing shortage is estimated to number in the millions of units. Meanwhile, Poseidon’s project proposal could reach its final state regulatory hurdle toward getting approved, in March.
-Written by Brandon Pho, a Voice of OC reporter and corps member with Report for America, a GroundTruth initiative. ​

Western Water California Water Map Gary Pitzer

Often Short of Water, California’s Southern Central Coast Builds Toward A Drought-Proof Supply
WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK: Water agencies in Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo counties look to seawater, recycled water to protect against water shortages

The spillway at Lake Cachuma in central Santa Barbara County. Drought in 2016 plunged its storage to about 8 percent of capacity.The southern part of California’s Central Coast from San Luis Obispo County to Ventura County, home to about 1.5 million people, is blessed with a pleasing Mediterranean climate and a picturesque terrain. Yet while its unique geography abounds in beauty, the area perpetually struggles with drought.

Indeed, while the rest of California breathed a sigh of relief with the return of wet weather after the severe drought of 2012–2016, places such as Santa Barbara still grappled with dry conditions.

With Drought Plan in Place, Colorado River Stakeholders Face Even Tougher Talks Ahead On The River’s Future
WESTERN WATER IN-DEPTH: Talks are about to begin on a potentially sweeping agreement that could reimagine how the Colorado River is managed

Lake Mead, behind Hoover Dam, shows the effects of nearly two decades of drought. Even as stakeholders in the Colorado River Basin celebrate the recent completion of an unprecedented drought plan intended to stave off a crashing Lake Mead, there is little time to rest. An even larger hurdle lies ahead as they prepare to hammer out the next set of rules that could vastly reshape the river’s future.

Set to expire in 2026, the current guidelines for water deliveries and shortage sharing, launched in 2007 amid a multiyear drought, were designed to prevent disputes that could provoke conflict.

Western Water California Groundwater Map Layperson's Guide to Flood Management Gary Pitzer

Southern California Water Providers Think Local in Seeking to Expand Supplies
WESTERN WATER SIDEBAR: Los Angeles and San Diego among agencies pursuing more diverse water portfolio beyond imports

The Claude “Bud” Lewis Desalination Plant in Carlsbad last December marked 40 billion gallons of drinking water delivered to San Diego County during its first three years of operation. The desalination plant provides the county with more than 50 million gallons of water each day.Although Santa Monica may be the most aggressive Southern California water provider to wean itself from imported supplies, it is hardly the only one looking to remake its water portfolio.

In Los Angeles, a city of about 4 million people, efforts are underway to dramatically slash purchases of imported water while boosting the amount from recycling, stormwater capture, groundwater cleanup and conservation. Mayor Eric Garcetti in 2014 announced a plan to reduce the city’s purchase of imported water from Metropolitan Water District by one-half by 2025 and to provide one-half of the city’s supply from local sources by 2035. (The city considers its Eastern Sierra supplies as imported water.)

Central Coast Tour 2019
Field Trip - November 6-7

This 2-day, 1-night tour offered participants the opportunity to learn about water issues affecting California’s scenic Central Coast and efforts to solve some of the challenges of a region struggling to be sustainable with limited local supplies that have potential applications statewide.

Western Water Magazine

Tapping the Ocean: What is the Role of Desalination?
Winter 2016

This issue looks at the role of ocean desalination in meeting California’s water needs today and in the future.

Western Water Magazine

Tapping the World’s Largest Reservoir: Desalination
January/February 2003

This issue examines desalination and the role it could play in the future of water supply. In addition to an explanation of the basics of the technology, the article looks at costs, environmental impacts and groundwater application. Pilot desalination projects are featured, including a much-touted Carlsbad, Calif., facility that promises to substantially boost that region’s water supply.

Western Water Magazine

Desalination: A Drought Proof Supply?
July/August 2009

This printed issue of Western Water examines desalination – an issue that is marked by great optimism and controversy – and the expected role it might play as an alternative water supply strategy.

Western Water Magazine

Making the Connection: The Water/Energy Nexus
September/October 2010

This printed issue of Western Water looks at the energy requirements associated with water use and the means by which state and local agencies are working to increase their knowledge and improve the management of both resources.

Western Water Magazine

Viewing Water with a Wide Angle Lens: A Roundtable Discussion
January/February 2013

This printed issue of Western Water features a roundtable discussion with Anthony Saracino, a water resources consultant; Martha Davis, executive manager of policy development with the Inland Empire Utilities Agency and senior policy advisor to the Delta Stewardship Council; Stuart Leavenworth, editorial page editor of The Sacramento Bee and Ellen Hanak, co-director of research and senior fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California.

Video

A Climate of Change: Water Adaptation Strategies

This 25-minute documentary-style DVD, developed in partnership with the California Department of Water Resources, provides an excellent overview of climate change and how it is already affecting California. The DVD also explains what scientists anticipate in the future related to sea level rise and precipitation/runoff changes and explores the efforts that are underway to plan and adapt to climate.

Video

Salt of the Earth: Salinity in California’s Central Valley

Salt. In a small amount, it’s a gift from nature. But any doctor will tell you, if you take in too much salt, you’ll start to have health problems. The same negative effect is happening to land in the Central Valley. The problem scientists call “salinity” poses a growing threat to our food supply, our drinking water quality and our way of life. The problem of salt buildup and potential – but costly – solutions are highlighted in this 2008 public television documentary narrated by comedian Paul Rodriguez.

Video

Salt of the Earth: Salinity in California’s Central Valley (20-minute DVD)

A 20-minute version of the 2008 public television documentary Salt of the Earth: Salinity in California’s Central Valley. This DVD is ideal for showing at community forums and speaking engagements to help the public understand the complex issues surrounding the problem of salt build up in the Central Valley potential – but costly – solutions. Narrated by comedian Paul Rodriquez.

Video

Stormwater Management: Turning Runoff into a Resource

20-minute DVD that explains the problem with polluted stormwater, and steps that can be taken to help prevent such pollution and turn what is often viewed as a “nuisance” into a water resource through various activities.

Video

Drinking Water: Quenching the Public Thirst (60-minute DVD)

Many Californians don’t realize that when they turn on the faucet, the water that flows out could come from a source close to home or one hundreds of miles away. Most people take their water for granted; not thinking about the elaborate systems and testing that go into delivering clean, plentiful water to households throughout the state. Where drinking water comes from, how it’s treated, and what people can do to protect its quality are highlighted in this 2007 PBS documentary narrated by actress Wendie Malick. 

Video

Drinking Water: Quenching the Public Thirst (30-minute DVD)

A 30-minute version of the 2007 PBS documentary Drinking Water: Quenching the Public Thirst. This DVD is ideal for showing at community forums and speaking engagements to help the public understand the complex issues surrounding the elaborate systems and testing that go into delivering clean, plentiful water to households throughout the state.

Publication

Layperson’s Guide to Integrated Regional Water Management
Published 2013

The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) is an in-depth, easy-to-understand publication that provides background information on the principles of IRWM, its funding history and how it differs from the traditional water management approach.

Publication

Layperson’s Guide to Water Recycling
Updated 2013

As the state’s population continues to grow and traditional water supplies grow tighter, there is increased interest in reusing treated wastewater for a variety of activities, including irrigation of crops, parks and golf courses, groundwater recharge and industrial uses.

Aquapedia background

Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and Salinity

The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta always has been at the mercy of river flows and brackish tides.

Before human intervention, salty ocean water from the San Francisco Bay flooded the vast Delta marshes during dry summers when mountain runoff ebbed. Then, during winter, heavy runoff from the mountains repelled sea water intrusion.

Aquapedia background

Desalination

Desalination

Recurrent droughts and uncertainties about future water supplies have led several California communities to look to treat salty water for supplemental supplies through a process known as desalination.

Desalination removes salt and other dissolved minerals from water and is one method to reclaim water for other uses. This can occur with ocean water along the coast and in the interior at spots that draw from ancient salt water deep under the surface or where groundwater has been tainted by too much salt.

Western Water Excerpt Gary PitzerRita Schmidt Sudman

Desalination: A Drought Proof Supply?
July/August 2009

It seems not a matter of if but when seawater desalination will fulfill the promise of providing parts of California with a reliable, drought-proof source of water. With a con­tinuing drought and uncertain water deliveries, the state is in the grip of a full-on water crisis, and there are many people who see desalination as a way to provide some relief to areas struggling to maintain an adequate water supply.

Western Water Excerpt Gary PitzerRita Schmidt Sudman

Tapping the World’s Largest Reservoir: Desalination
Jan/Feb 2003

“Water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink.” – Samuel Taylor Coleridge
For time immemorial, the seas of the Earth have been seen as an enticing but unreachable source of fresh water. Separating the salt from ocean water was always a cost prohibitive process, primarily reserved to wealthy Middle Eastern nations and small-scale operations such as ocean-bound vessels and small islands. Otherwise, through the evolution of modern civilization, man has depended upon lakes, rivers and groundwater – a supply that comprises less than 3 percent of the planet’s total water.