Necessity is the mother of invention, and real needs will grow with climate change.
The most fundamental of these is the need for fresh water.
Despite predicted long-term water stress across a wide swathe of agricultural states like California, we will have to find ways to grow the food we need. All kinds of novel adaptations must be made, from recycling water to learning to grow food in salt water and to reusing water that we do have.
A great deal of California’s energy budget goes to just moving water through the state. Innovation will be needed to reduce this waste of energy.
Discovering or inventing adaptations to the effects of climate change on growing food could make water tech the emerging green boom, especially here in drought-ridden California. The state is getting a third of $58 million in Federal water tech funding designed to stave of hydrological disaster.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is making funding available for water projects like conservation and water quality improvements on agricultural working land nationwide. A total of 63 projects in 21 states have qualified so far for $58 million in A.W.E.P. (Agricultural Water Enhancement Program) funding.
Funding is available for:
•Assessing hydrological problems and innovating the solutions
•Switching to less water-intensive crops or even to zero water farming
•Finding ways to enhance or restore natural hydrological cycles
•Improvements to irrigation efficiency
•Mitigating the effects of drought and regional climate change
•Anything else the Secretary thinks could improve water quality or save water
Proposals are prioritized by stressed regions like those where farms have no more water and must find ways to farm on dry land and to find ways to stretch a very limited water supply to grow crops while not contaminating well water for drinking.
Long time V.C. funding giant Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers has just invested in its first water remediation technology company. Applied Process Technology uses bio-film (a filtering barrier that is actually alive) to remove chemicals and agricultural nitrates (from fertilizer) from well water.
According to Venture Beat, the first deployment of Applied Process Technology’s bio-film to remove nitrates will start in California’s central valley – to clean contaminated well water.
Image from Aquafornia