“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.
Posted in Articles
Tagged alternative, brine, build, california, capital, Carlsbad, coast, complicated, concern, conservation, cost, county, currents, desalination, dollars, Drink, drinkable, drought, efficiency, energy, environment, facility, freshwater, hydropower, impact, increase, infrastructure, Jerry Brown, locally, minerals, ocean, ocean water, operational, plant, plants, produce, project, recycle, recycled water, reliable, renewable, research, resource, reuse, run, saline, salt, San Diego, scarce, scarcity, sea, sea animals, sea life, seawater, stormwater, supply, water, water quality, water source, water standards
Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal published an article about gray water. This type of recycling takes used water from bathtubs, showers, and sinks for lawn irrigation purposes. It filters the water after use and repurposes it to help lawns, gardens, and trees grow without using more water.
Californians have started to adopt this method of saving water in their homes. Businesses who sell and install gray water systems have increased their sales by 200%. The only downfall to these systems is that they can cost anywhere from $100 to $10,000 hard-earned dollars (or more).
But to some, the cost is worth it to save our environment. Ever since the drought started to effect the West Coast 4 years ago, Californians have been finding ways to save water and cut back on consumption. Sustainable water technology has also grown exponentially. Now there are many ways to save water in your home.
An alternative to using gray water is buying a water filter system for your entire home that reuses backwash water. If your filter recycles your water before it goes through your house, you’ll be preemptively saving water and preventing your family from using tap water (which has chemicals and contaminants).
To learn more about home water filter systems, check out this site. To learn more about gray water and how it’s starting to sweep California, visit the link below for the Wall Street Journal article.
Source & Image:
Wall Street Journal. Gray Water Brings Lush Lawns Without the Guilt. 13 August 2015. http://www.wsj.com/articles/gray-water-brings-lush-lawns-without-the-guilt-1439474433
Posted in Articles
Tagged #DroughtShaming, backwash, california, chemical, consumption, contaminants, diet, dollars, drought, environment, filter, filtered water, gray, gray water, grey, grow, Health, healthy, home, irrigation, lawn, life, lifestyle, recycle, recycles, recycling, reduce, repurpose, reuse, San Diego, save, shame, shaming, shower, sink, sustainability, sustainable, tap-water, technology, trees, tub, Wall Street Journal, water, water wise, whole house filter
As we all know, there’s a drought going on in Southern California. Local water monitors come through residential neighborhoods looking for culprits, boat owners can’t put in local lakes due to their shallowness, and signs are up everywhere pleading people to cut back on their water use. But humans need water to live, it’s a fact. So how do you drink enough water to stay hydrated while also contributing to lessen your water use during this drought? Here are a few tips to doing just that.
- Buy a filtering water bottle and stop buying bottled water. Firstly, some bottles leak chemicals from plastics, so you don’t really know what’s in your water. Secondly, the actual water itself can come from many different sources, so you don’t know what you’re putting in your body. And lastly, buying bottled water is not eco-friendly. 100 bottles= more trash than 1 BPA-free bottle re-used 100 times. It’ll also help you to drink more water if you carry a bottle everywhere.
- Drink a glass or two of water with every meal. Experts say that most of the time when you think you’re hungry, you’re actually just thirsty/dehydrated. So use that filtered water bottle you’re about to buy and fill it up a couple times before, during, and after your meal.
- Make sure you hydrate properly before, during, and after a workout. It’s hot out, and if you’re running outside you’re going to need to drink enough water to replenish your body’s 70% H2O makeup. It’s also a fact that drinking water helps to flush out the lactic acid in your muscles after a workout. So grab some water and drink up so that you aren’t as sore tomorrow.
Filtercon Technologies provides you with two great ways to save water and money while staying hydrated during this drought. Firstly, we have two different filtering water bottles that you can carry with you anywhere. One is from BPA-free and includes a carbon filter that takes out chlorine. The other is a stainless steel bottle that filters out bacteria. The other way that you can save money, water, and help your family stay healthy is to buy a whole house water filtration system for your home. It feeds filtered water to all of the pipes in your house while also re-using the water it backwashes with.
To find out more information, visit our website at http://www.filtercon.com or call our office at our toll-free number (800)-550-1995.
Posted in Articles
Tagged activated carbon, boat, BPA, BPA free, california, carbon, chemicals, dehydrated, Drink, drought, eco-friendly, environment, filter, filtered water bottle, glass, Health, healthy, humans, hungry, hydrated, lactic acid, life, live, local, meal, neighbor, plastic, recycle, residential, reuse, run, running, San Diego, SoCal, Southern California, sustainable, thirsty, tips, trash, water, water bottle, water filter, water monitor, workout
Sustainability is becoming more and more popular in our culture today. The term sustainability as defined by the Bruntland Report in 1987 (the first definition) is, “Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Since 1987, we have developed far from just having a definition of sustainability. We have the resources and technology to measure and predict our use of nonrenewable resources. We also have the means to understand that humans are destroying our Earth at a rate so quickly that it cannot keep up or even recover.
Each human creates an ecological footprint that determines how our waste and energy use impacts the earth. There are so many ways that humans create their footprint without even recognizing it; by eating more meat, by buying new clothes regularly, by owning a home that has running water… these are just a few ways that we impact the Earth. If you’d like to see your individual impact on the Earth by figuring out your ecological footprint, check out the Global Footprint Network’s footprint calculator at http://www.footprintnetwork.org/en/index.php/GFN/page/calculators/.
Here are some tips to reducing your ecological footprint:
1) Eat less meat and buy more produce from local farmers
2) Use less water in your home and buy water-saving products
3) Use more public transportation and carpool often
4) Dispose of trash properly and recycle all reusable materials
5) Look into supporting your home with renewable energy like solar power
One way that you can reduce your water use is to buy a whole-house filtration system that doesn’t waste water. Filtercon Technologies has created a revolutionary system that reuses backwash to recycle water. Check it out at http://www.filtercon.com or call 800-550-1995 for more information.
Posted in Articles
Tagged America, backwash, bottled water, buy, california, carpool, clothes, consumer, culture, destroy, diet, dispose, drought, Earth, ecological, ecological footprint, ecology, farmers, filter, footprint, future, generations, Health, healthy, humans, hydropower, lifestyle, local, material, measure, meat, needs, planet, predict, present, produce, public transportation, recover, recycle, reduce, renewable energy, resources, reuse, revolutionary, running water, San Diego, solar power, Southern California, sustain, sustainability, sustainable, technology, tips, transportation, trash, use less, waste water, water, water use, work
Fracking, or the process of extracting oil from underground reservoirs, takes a lot of time, money, and water. But humans are extremely dependent on this technique because it brings out a natural resource that fuels transportation methods that we use in our everyday lives. Cars, buses, trains, and planes are just a few of the ways we get around that use oil as fuel. So how can a process that is so important still be so inefficient? Fracking wastes millions of gallons of water per year, water that could be reused for other purposes.
So why isn’t it being reused? Because when water is pressurized down into the ground to extract oil, it becomes contaminated and deemed “brimy”. This type of water is discarded into deep injection wells and new, clean water is bought to continue the fracking process.
Luckily a company that works with MIT has come up with a genius process to reuse some of these million gallons that are wasted every year. This company, called Gradient Corporation, has created a cost-effective process to treat brimy oilfield water for reuse. Depending on the location and type of fracking, carrier gas extraction (CGE) or selective chemical extraction (SCE) is used to clean the brimy water. Carrier gas extraction heats produced water into vapor and condenses it back into water without contaminants. In selective chemical extraction, chemical reactions remove specific contaminants. Both processes are effective, easy to use, and will save millions of dollars annually for fracking companies.
Reusing water is important, especially at a time when the West Coast is in a severe drought. It is important that every person does their part in helping to save water and save our environment. There are so many ways that you can save water, but one important way that also improves your health is to buy a water filtration system for your home that reuses backwash water. Think of it as your own system, like fracking, that can normally waste backwash water. Filtercon Technologies has developed a system that does just the opposite; reuses that water for other purposes while still purifying the water that goes into your home. Want to know more? Visit http://www.filtercon.com or call us at 800-550-1995.
Toward Cheaper Water Treatment. MIT News. July 15, 2015. http://newsoffice.mit.edu/2015/cheaper-fracking-water-treatment-0716
Posted in Articles
Tagged bus, california, car, chemicals, Clean, contaminated, contaminated water, contamination, cost-effective, environment, filter, fracking, fuel, Gas, injection, millions, MIT, MIT News, money, natural resource, oil, plane, pressure, process, recycle, reduce, repurpose, reseroirs, reuse, San Diego, save, Southern California, sustainable, time, train, transportation, underground, waste water, wasted, water, water filter
Have you ever wondered what’s in those water bottles that you hear about being detrimental to your health but that everyone uses? It’s BPA, or Bisphenol A. But what does that really mean and how does it affect our bodies?
Well, BPA is an industrial chemical that disrupts hormone messages. It’s been used since 1960 to make certain plastics; water bottles, baby bottles, toys, and some consumer goods. Some canned goods not only contain this harmful plastic but also include resin in its deadly composition. It increases estrogen and decreases testosterone. It can seep into your foods and beverages and affects babies the most because of their small body systems. This is very bad because babies need hormones to grow correctly, and BPA blocks them. It has also been linked to Type 2 diabetes and several types of cancers.
Discourse on BPA is highly controversial. But would you take a chance on your health or the health of your family? These days many bottles are required to be labeled if they contain traces of BPA. If you see a recycling symbol on a bottle, you should check for its density. #2 HDPE (high density polyethylene), #4 LDPE (low density polyethylene), and #5 PP(polypropylene) are safe to use. But most water bottles are made out of #1 density. They are intended for a single usage, but it is common for people to reuse plastic bottles even after one use. If you see a water bottle with the #7 recycling symbol, you should probably not drink from it. Reports have said that these water bottles “may” leak BPA. But again, you should always ask yourself if you want to take those kinds of risks for your health…
If you are one of those people that use water bottles from the grocery store frequently or switch out using different water bottles that you haven’t checked for BPA (when you bought it, it should say on the label), then you should think about getting a reusable, BPA-free bottle. Filtercon Technologies has one that not only is BPA-free, but also filters chlorine out of water so that city drinking water is better for your health. If you want to know more about BPA-free materials or Filtercon’s water bottle, check it out on the website http://www.filtercon.com.
Filtercon Technologies is a full-line water filtration company. We have systems for your faucets, under-the sink, or your whole house! Call 800-550-1995 to learn more or visit our website http://www.filtercon.com
Posted in Articles
Tagged babies, baby, baby bottles, beverages, body, body systems, BPA, BPA free, california, cancer, canned goods, chemical free, chemicals, consumer goods, diabetes, estrogen, Filtercon, food, harmful, Health, healthy, hormones, lifestyle, plastic, Plastics, pollution, recycle, San Diego, testosterone, Toxin, toxins, toys, water, water bottle, water bottles
One bottling company’s vague policies have sparked discourse on the relationship between California’s drought and bottling water in California. How much groundwater are these companies using? Would it affect the drought if these companies no longer bottled? Who oversees groundwater usage rules? Which companies in California use the most water for these purposes? These are questions that have been asked frequently during the eruption of conversation about bottling water and the drought. Let’s take a further look into the conversation…
It started with Palomar Mountain Spring Water, a bottling company based in San Diego County and located on Palomar Mountain. How bottled water companies work is that they buy land located on large reservoirs of groundwater and use the water to bottle and disperse to the community for a fee. These resources do not have limits; “The spring is also not subject to the kind of drought restrictions that are causing residents across San Diego County to let lawns brown and leave toilets unflushed,” says Morgan Cook from the Union Tribune. It is also uncertain how much groundwater is being used by these companies for bottling purposes because they are not required to release information about usage of the springs that they own.
-But wait, shouldn’t that be public information? ‘”The complaints that we don’t really know what they’re doing, the complaint that they’re taking a public resource and commercializing it at a great profit- these are all real problems…,” says Peter Gleick who is the president of a water think tank in Oakland.’ The Union Tribune posted this and other thoughts about this in their article No Drought Rules for Bottled Water, which was released today (6/8/15).
Another issue that the article brought up was the fact that Palomar Springs is just one of many bottling companies that have taken advantage of the fact that bottled water natural resources are unrestricted. Six companies in the San Diego area alone are included in this category, of which draw from resources like the Lakeside springs, Palomar Mountain area, Santee, and private wells. And because these companies have the right to not have to report the amounts of water they use, no one knows which companies are using more than others.
All of this being said, bottled water is not the ultimate source of the California drought. Although these companies may be helping to exacerbate its severity, the drought situation in California derives from many other sources, including natural disasters (forest fires, earthquakes, and storms), climate change, and human impact on the environment.
If you’d like to learn more about the article in the San Diego Union Tribune, check out their link below. If you’d like to learn how you can help the environment save and recycle water, visit filtercon.com for more information.
San Diego Union Tribune, “No Drought Rules for Bottled Water”. 6/8/15. http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2015/jun/08/tp-no-drought-rules-for-bottled-water/2/?#article-copy
Posted in Articles
Tagged behavior, bottled water, california, climate change, commercialize, community, complain, drought, drought restrictions, environment, Filtercon, groundwater, habitat, human impact, information, issue, land, lawns, life, lifestyle, limit, natural disasters, Oakland, Palomar, patterns, policies, profit, public, recycle, reservoir, rules, San Diego, San Diego County, source, spring, spring water, union tribune, water bottle, water bottle companies, water bottles