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Hilbert Morales EO Publisher

Hilbert Morales
EO Publisher

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It is recommended that all water stakeholders resolve to look into the ADDITION OF WATER PRODUCTION CAPACITY rather than undertake the lengthy legal approaches involving existing ‘water rights’. This earth has ample quantities of water. it is just that only 3% is natural ‘sweet water’ readily used by humans, animals, vegetation and commerce.

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The California State Legislature and Governor Brown today have a unique opportunity to creatively resolve the current drought crisis. Current solutions, including those two underground ‘big pipes’ which would take 15 years to construct under the Sacramento/San Joaquin River delta, deal with this drought in terms of traditional diversion approaches. Historically, all stakeholders are very interested in getting the most from existing water sources. Today, that is leading to gridlock amongst all the decision-makers.

Water is essential to life and commerce. Let’s first enumerate the stakeholders involved today: Water Districts, such as SCVWD, need enough to provide for the human population being servcd….some 1.9 million individuals plus local industry. Agribusiness needs enough to irrigate former dry lands into verdant production. Set aside the myth of ‘the small American family farm’. Agribusiness’s lobbyists must understand that Agribusiness must begin to fully pay for the ‘irrigation water’ needed to conduct their profitable agricultural business. Then there are those concerned about sustaining and conserving our existing natural habitat, and the creation which was taken from the Native Americans, California’s initial residents who lived ‘off the land’ without exploiting it.

Keep in mind that all current proposed solutions develop the diversion of water from where it is produced by nature to where it is needed by human enterprises. None of these solutions do anything to add to the volume of potable water needed by California’s growing population and its several industries.

It is possible today to use solar panels to capture and use the solar energy which reliably arrives at this earth everywhere. Solar panels could be used to collect electricity, which then may produce potable water by distillation processes, or reverse osmosis processes applied to seawater. Seawater is brackish because it contains a multitude of ions from all the mineral salts which have been eroded from continental soils. There exist today several potable water production factories in the Mid-East. The Governor and legislators may want to visit these plants which produce potable water. Then fund the research to adapt that potable water production know-how to the needs of California’s ecosystem.

Several Californian jurisdictions (San Diego, Orange County, and Santa Clara County) have already used existing technology to construct and operate potable water recovery systems from sewage waste waters. More of these could be built and put into service in a reasonable time frame. Officials must understand that thirsty humans will drink water that is produced from waste sewage water rather than suffer dehydration. On a very small scale, this already happens in all space stations today.

It is time to consider funding the assessment research and engineering which will add to the supply of potable water, rather than continue to expand the traditional ways of transporting water from where it is produced by nature, to where human enterprise needs it. This is the traditional approach today in which canals and aqueducts are used to
transport water from the Shasta Dam area, down the Sacramento River, through the Delta, down the canals, pumped over the Tehachipi mountain range into the Los Angeles basin. Water obtained from the Owens Valley and the Colorado River is already fully exploited.

A very viable approach is the production of potable water from seawater, which is available all over this world. We should not reject the ‘high cost’ of using solar panels to produce electricity, either to distill seawater or to subject seawater to a ‘reverse osmosis’ production process. The cost per acre-feet of water may be very high initially. However, with developmental know-how and volume production, the cost per unit will be reduced. Since water is essential, our society must underwrite the costs of production in adequate volumes.

Let’s hope our leaders expand a stewardship approach to resolve this drought through endorsement of public policy and funding efforts which add to the PRODUCTION OF ADDITIONAL POTABLE WATER in sufficient volumes to ensure adequate supplies for all. Most importantly, ensure that each stakeholder pays its fair share of the costs of monitored production, distribution and recovery for recycled use. The technology and knowledge already exists to undertake successful ‘sweet water’ production outcomes . Let’s focus on the stewardship needed to ensure ample supplies of ‘sweet water’.

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