“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
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
Summer is here. We all want to have those great bikini or board short bodies, but a lot of us exercise outside and it gets hot in the summer. So what should we do?
Well, let’s learn about what happens to us when exercising in the heat. When running in hotter weather (when the temperature is above 75 degrees Farenheight), our bodies spend about 70% of the energy that they normally would be using towards our workout to just cool down. Only 30% goes to moving our arms and legs and breathing. What’s more, the heat, humidity, and UV rays all have a negative effect on us because we aren’t used to putting our bodies to work in such harsh environments. The heat makes us sweat, the humidity doesn’t allow our cooling processes to occur as effectively, and UV rays burn our skin which makes our core temperature higher.
But the good news is that after 1-2 weeks of working out in hotter weather, your body starts to acclimate. John Woo, M.D., a clinical associate professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine says, “Your body will expect circulating plasma volume and become more efficient in sweating, and, psychologically, you just start dealing with the heat better.” To help this process occur safely, start out by cutting your workout in the heat in half and add 5% every day or 10% every couple of days or so. You can even finish the rest of your workout inside (do core work, lift weights, do a yoga routine) until you get back up to 100% of your workout in the heat. Other things you should be doing to help this process occur safely are: drink 8 glasses of water throughout the day, make sure to get enough electrolytes, and use sunscreen.
If you follow these simple steps to working out in the heat, your body will thank you. To learn more about the body and effects of water on the body, check out our other blog posts or visit our website (www.filtercon.com) to learn about why it’s important to filter your water at home.
What Running in the Heat Does to Your Body. SHAPE Fitness. 7 July 2015. http://www.shape.com/fitness/cardio/what-running-heat-does-your-body
Posted in Articles
Tagged blog, blood pressure, body, breathing, burn, california, cool, core, dehydration, diet, electrolytes, energy, environment, exercise, filter, fitness, Health, heat, hot, hot body, humid, humidity, legs, lift, medicine, plasma, run, running, safe, San Diego, shape, SHAPE Magazine, steps, summer, sun, sunscreen, sweat, temperature, University of Washington, UV rays, water, west coast, working out, workout, yoga