Tag Archives: salt

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.

How Your Houseplants are Affected By Different Types of Water

houseplants

What’s the best way to make your houseplants grow strong and vibrant? Watering them. But often times, it’s easy to overlook what kind of water you’re feeding your plants. Tap water may cost less, but filtered water has many more advantages. Some tap water has harmful chemicals that can hurt you and your plants. Let’s take a look at the different types of water and their effects on houseplants…

Chlorine
Chlorine is often found in tap water and is used to kill diseases. Chlorine is a gas that evaporates out of water. That’s why you can smell chlorine. This has a terrible effect on houseplants and their growth. However, letting chlorine water sit and “breathe” for 24 hours before pouring it into your houseplants helps. Your water container also needs to be clean sot that the water going into your plants is pure.

Hard Water
There are some people whose tap water is what is called “hard water.” This simply means that the water has excessive amounts of minerals like magnesium or calcium. If this is your water, make sure not to use it on your houseplants.

Salt Water
Salt prevents the plants’ roots from absorbing water. This mineral forms around the plants’ cells, pulling water out of the plant as it starts settling in the soil. Although salt is found in tap water, the content is too low to be problematic.

Sugar Water
Unlike salt water, sugar causes bacteria to grow in the right environment. If you use this type of water, your houseplants will become unhealthy and die over time. It can also be a great place for fungus to grow, causing the same harmful effect on your plants.

Well Water
Well water nourishes houseplants. Since it comes from deep below ground, and it carries nutrients from the soil that plants need. It acts almost like a fertilizer, leading to greener and healthier plants. However, most people in urban areas are not privileged to this type of water.

boy

Bottled Water
This can get a little pricey. Not only that, but you never know where the water comes from or what types of contaminants are in its container.

Filtered Water
The best and most economical source for water is buying a whole house water filtration system. It provides chlorine free water that tastes great. Additionally, it removes heavy metals and pollutants that will give life back to your houseplants. You and your plants will benefit immensely from it.

Other notes: many times houseplants are killed due to over-watering. Before watering your plants, stick your finger in the soil about an inch down. If the soil is dry, water away. If the soil is still moist, there’s no need to water. Equally important factors to growing plants are sunlight and proper exposure.

For more information on whole house water filtration, visit http://www.filtercon.com or call us at 800-550-1995.

Images:

http://www.earthtimes.org/green-blogs/green-living/detoxifying-houseplants-21-May-11/

examiner.com

How San Diego is Saving Water during the Drought

Last week the San Diego community received the 2014 Annual Drinking Water Quality Report handbook. In it contains information about where the city’s water is sourced from, how the water treatment process works, how the city is diversifying our water, and how the city is moving towards more sustainable practices.

By 2035, the city of San Diego plans to have 1/3 of its drinking water supplied through a program that purifies recycled water. It is planned to produce about 15 million gallons of water for the city each day. The technology used to do so requires membrane filtration, reverse osmosis, advanced oxidation with ultraviolet light, and hydrogen peroxide. The city tested this method through a one-year project using 9,000 water quality tests and daily monitoring to ensure that no contaminants were present in the recycled water. The California Department of Public Health and San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board approved the recycled water purifying process as it met all federal and state drinking water standards.

San Diego is also exploring ways to use groundwater basins to provide water storage, capture rainwater for recycling purposes, and implement an ocean desalination plant to produce desalinated water for use throughout San Diego County.

The 2014 Water Quality Report also states that the city has been mandated to reduce its water use by 16% as a whole. They are asking residents and businesses to identify where they can most save water and give tips on the best ways to do so. Some of these include: only watering your lawn two times per week, putting low-flow heads on your faucets and showerheads, and evaluating your pipes for possible water leaks. They are also urging residents to use the City’s Public Utilities Department website, wastenowater.org, for water-saving resource guides.

Are you wasting water throughout your home? Filtercon Technologies is a full-line water treatment company. They have whole-house water filters that don’t waste water, save you money, and keep you healthy! They are one of the most trusted water filtration systems in the state, and work mostly by referral. Check out their site, http://www.filtercon.com. Or call for more information at 800-550-1995.

Source:

The City of San Diego 2014 Annual Drinking Water Quality Report. City of San Diego Public Utilities Water & Wastewater. 2 July 2015.

Image:

kidscures.org