Tag Archives: increase

Is Desalinaton in our Future?

“The Carlsbad Desalination Project will provide San Diego county with a locally-controlled, drought-proof supply of high-quality water that meets or exceeds all state and federal drinking water standards.”

The quote above comes directly from carlsbaddesal.com,the website for Carlsbad’s new desalinating water plant. The process of desalination includes removing salt and unhealthy minerals from saline water. When discussing the current drought in California, there is often talk of desalination and its potential to increase our freshwater supply. Removing salt and minerals from saline water seems like an obvious solution to the drought and ongoing water scarcity concerns because it is a reliable water source.

Fourteen new desalination plants have been in the works to produce more drinkable water along the California coast. For many, this may seem like an answer to the “exceptional drought”. As consumers, it may also seem like a way to help us avoid making lifestyle changes, such as Governor Jerry Brown’s call for Californians to reduce their water use by 20 percent. But while desalination may be a reliable option, the answer is much more complicated.

One of the greatest issues with desalination is the cost associated with these projects. A new plant may cost upwards of hundreds of millions of dollars to build (a billion in the case of the Carlsbad facility), plus considerable cost to run the plant.

Beyond the costs to build these facilities, operational costs are substantial and raise concerns over the energy requirements and their impacts. Energy costs make up around a third of total operating costs for a typical desalination plant. In California, there is concern about vulnerability to short-term and long-term energy price increases. During a drought, energy prices tend to increase due to the reduced ability to generate hydropower and the need to replace that hydropower with more expensive energy sources. These costs are often overlooked and not always factored into the total project cost. Long term, energy prices are not static and may increase due to the rising costs of developing renewable alternatives and building and maintaining new and existing infrastructure.

With these high capital and operational costs also comes a higher cost of its product, water. Desalinated water can cost upwards of $1,900 per acre foot, considerably more than other alternatives such as water conservation and efficiency, stormwater capture, and recycled water.

Aside from the costs, there are other potential externalities associated with desalination facilities, including environmental impacts. Seawater intake systems that draw ocean water in through screened pipes impinge marine organisms on the intakes. Smaller organisms able to pass through, such as eggs, larvae, and plankton, are entrained into the plant and killed during the desalination process. Produced water disposal can also have a substantial threat to marine life. The salt is concentrated into a brine that is usually pumped back out to sea for disposal after going through the desalination process. These point sources increase salinity levels and may affect local sea life, depending on the plant’s location and sea currents.

The idea of building seawater desalination plants during a drought is not a new one. In 1991, a desalination plant in Santa Barbara was constructed in response to the 1987-1992 drought. Once the plant was completed, abundant rainfall rendered the plant cost-inefficient, and it shut down in 1992. Currently, costs to restart the plant are being assessed as the technology and infrastructure are dated and would incur new capital investment. Likewise, six seawater desalination plants were built in Australia in response to the Millennium Drought. Today, four out of the six plants are left idle due to the availability of cheaper alternatives. These examples should serve as cautionary tales.

The good news is that we still have cost-effective options readily available. A study by the Pacific Institute and NRDC shows how California’s drought can be managed with better allocation and management of water resources. By implementing water-saving practices, water reuse, and stormwater capture, California can save 5.2 to 7.1 million acre-feet of water each year in our urban areas – equivalent to the output of 125 large desalination plants!

Sustainable water management is best served by creating a comprehensive water management strategy in California, one that captures the most cost-effective options first. California has the ability to bridge the gap between water demand and supply by taking advantage of the existing resources and practices that have yet to be fully and efficiently harnessed.

El Nino is Coming

Wondering if El Nino is really coming for all of us in California? Well look no further, because the NOAA National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center has answered your questions.

To sum their Aug 13th report up, “There is a greater than 90% chance that El Niño will continue through Northern Hemisphere winter 2015-16, and around an 85% chance it will last into early spring 2016.”

How can scientists tell that this is really happening? Atmospheric and oceanic conditions have been portraying El Nino features. Some of these features include increases in sea temperatures, specific movement of Kelvin waves, and exact positions of wind movement. These features emulate those of a former El Nino; the 1997 El Nino ocean temperatures were just as high as those today, and scientists say today’s El Nino may even top that of 1997.

El Nino

So get out your rain jackets, boots, and skis, and prepare for the 2015/2016 El Nino that could help you to have the best shred yet.

Image:

climatecentral.org

Drinking Water and Weight Loss

Weight Loss

With summer comes so many delicious things to eat and drink; hot dogs and hamburgers at barbecues, ice cream from your favorite shoppe, and fruity frozen drinks with tiny umbrellas. Although these are wonderful every once in a while, they’re not the healthiest foods. If you’re trying to get back on track after one too many chili dogs, then you should at least consider this easy way to help with weight loss: drink more water!

WebMD describes a study done that followed people who changed their daily diets to include 8 glasses of water/day. The results showed that these people felt more full and did not eat as much. Their metabolisms increased by 30% within 30-40 of drinking 17 oz of water. For men, metabolic rate increased because of fat burn. In women, metabolic rate rose due to the increase in the breakdown of carbohydrates.

Woman drinking water

Researchers estimated that over a year, more than 17,000 calories were saved due to the increase in water consumption. That equaled to the study participants being about 5 lbs lighter throughout the year. In actuality, almost half of the calories burned from drinking water was due to the body’s attempt to heat the ingested water.

No matter if you’re trying to lose weight or just trying to be more healthy, you should always try to drink as close to 8 glasses a day as possible. Water is not only 70% of your body’s makeup, it fuels your brain and organs to keep your processes running smoothly. The best kind of water for your body is water that has no contaminants, chlorine, heavy metals, etc. You can make sure that you’re getting pure water by buying a filtration system for the tap water that goes through your pipes. To learn more, visit http://www.filtercon.com or call Filtercon Technologies at 800-550-1995.

Source:
Drinking Water May Speed Weight Loss. WebMD. http://www.webmd.com/diet/20040105/drinking-water-may-speed-weight-loss