California Is Officially In A Drought: Is Desal An Answer?

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Originally published on 1Sun4All.

California is officially in a drought state of emergency with the statement today from Governor Jerry Brown. For those people around the world and in this country who are experiencing this situation, I am sorry. This is personal for me because the area that I live in has been challenged with less rainfall for the past 3-4 years. Average annual rainfall, which occurs primarily between November and April, is usually 19.67 inches. So far this year we have accumulated a record low of 4.19 inches. The following is from the Office of the Governor for California and IDE Technologies:

With California facing water shortfalls in the driest year in recorded state history, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today proclaimed a State of Emergency and directed state officials to take all necessary actions to prepare for these drought conditions.

We can’t make it rain, but we can be much better prepared for the terrible consequences that California’s drought now threatens, including dramatically less water for our farms and communities and increased fires in both urban and rural areas. I’ve declared this emergency and I’m calling all Californians to conserve water in every way possible.

-Governor Brown

Largest Desalination Plant in Western Hemisphere Completes First Year of Construction


Screen view from the video

California Project on Track to Deliver up to 50 Million Gallons of Water per Day by Early 2016

Carlsbad, California city leaders, San Diego County Water Authority board officers, IDE Technologies, NRG Energy and Poseidon Water executives visited the Carlsbad Desalination Project in January 2014, to mark the first anniversary of construction on the Western Hemisphere’s largest seawater desalination plant, which is more than 25 percent complete.

An Introduction to the Carlsbad Desalination Plant Project

The $1 billion venture, launched in late 2012, is within budget and on schedule to start producing water in 2016. Besides the plant, the project includes a large-diameter pipeline in North County, along with upgrades to Water Authority facilities. It will account for about one-third of all the water generated in San Diego County, helping reduce reliance on imported water as part of the Water Authority’s multi-decade strategy to improve the reliability of the region’s water supply by diversifying its portfolio of water sources.

Thomas V. Wornham, Chair of the Water Authority’s Board of Directors:

The past two dry years in California, plus the prospect of a third dry year in 2014, underscore the importance and value of investing in long-term, drought-proof water sources such as the Carlsbad Desalination Project. We are pleased with the progress to date and eager for the plant to start producing water that will help support our region’s 3.1 million residents and its $188 billion economy.


 Screen view from the video

I’ve said that I thought that if we could ever competitively, at a cheap rate get fresh water from salt water, that it would be in the long range interest of humanity which would really dwarf any other scientific accomplishment, and I’m hopeful that we will intensify our efforts in that area. -President John F. Kennedy, 1961

Carlos Riva, CEO of Poseidon Water, the project developer:

We are thrilled to see this project progressing so quickly and efficiently after more than 10 years of hard work to bring it to fruition. We are well on our way to delivering enough high-quality drinking water to serve up to 112,000 households in San Diego County. We could not make this project possible without the help and support of the Water Authority, Kiewit Shea Desalination contractors, IDE Technologies, NRG Energy and the cities of San Marcos, Vista and Carlsbad. We sincerely appreciate the partnerships we have developed with each of these entities.

Carlsbad Mayor Matt Hall thanked the Water Authority, Poseidon Water and the contractors for minimizing construction impacts and for communicating with business owners and residents.

Mayor Matt Hall:

A project of this size is a massive undertaking for our city that will benefit the entire region. It’s a testament to good planning and hard work that this world-class project is going so smoothly.

During the three-year construction process, the desalination project is supporting an estimated 2,500 jobs and infusing $350 million into the local economy. In the first year of construction, joint-venture contractor Kiewit Shea Desalination achieved a perfect safety rating, with no reports of injury or violations building what will be the nation’s most technologically advanced and energy-efficient seawater desalination plant.

My personal concern: The use of desalination plants can over-saturate the surrounding area’s oceans, bays and inlets with salt. We need to protect our seas and the creatures that live there. I’m certain that there is technology – or it is being developed – that can deliver clean, safe water while allowing the world’s oceans to remain livable for its inhabitants.

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Amber Archangel

-- I am an artist, painter, writer, interior designer, graphic designer, and constant student of many studies. Living with respect for the environment close at hand, the food chain, natural remedies for healing the earth, people and animals is a life-long expression and commitment. As half of a home-building team, I helped design and build harmonious, sustainable and net-zero homes that incorporate clean air systems, passive and active solar energy as well as rainwater collection systems. Private aviation stirs a special appeal, I would love to fly in the solar airplane and install a wind turbine in my yard. I am a peace-loving, courageous soul, and I am passionate about contributing to the clean energy revolution. I formerly designed and managed a clean energy website,

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