Category Archives: Desalination

Is there more water than we thought in California? Part II: Alternatives to deep groundwater extraction and areas of the US that may be able to capture similar supplies

In last week’s post, I wrote about how scientists at Stanford University identified approximately 2.2 billion acre-feet of water deep underground below California’s aquifers. While the “new” find that the Stanford group identified may be interesting, the economic and regulatory challenges surrounding this water supply may make it impractical for widespread use. However, are there alternatives to this water supply in California and other areas of the United States? Could similar projects be brought to bear in these areas? And if not, what are some potential alternatives to provide thirsty California with water supplies during a drought? I will address these issues in this post. Continue reading

Urban Storm Water Capture – Great Potential Benefits, Great Cost or Both?

In my last Hydrowonk post, I discussed how challenges moving water through the Delta has created even more scarce water supplies in parts of the Central Valley. Despite the fact that Lakes Shasta and Oroville are at 92% and 94% capacity, (Lake Oroville is within 18 feet of the crest – a reality unimaginable just a year ago when the reservoir looked like this) a series of factors is stopping the water stored north from flowing to parched farmers and cities in southern California. Many water pundits and industry leaders have pointed out how the drought has changed people’s mindsets about water use, and it has affected how water district managers view long-term supplies. For example, many managers did not believe that the Central Valley Project would get zero allocation for 2014 and 2015, and that the State Water Project would deliver a 5% allocation in 2014. As the Golden State enters into the fifth year of drought, unreliable water supplies are causing many districts to look for alternative sources. Continue reading

Of (CA) Water Bondage

Spent Wednesday night watching the action on the State Senate floor on the new California water bond (thanks to Maven for the link).  With Governor Brown signing the bill later that night, there is a new bond on the ballot replacing the $11.14 billion bond passed in 2009.  The “fear of failure” led the Legislature to delay putting the large bond on the 2010 and 2012 ballots.  What’s the new bond?  Will the trimmed down version pass muster with voters?  What did we learn about water politics and leadership in California? Continue reading

¿Habla Espanol?: What Failure of Bay Delta Conservation Plan Means for Southern California

The Voice of San Diego ran a story today about the Cadiz Project that provides a “teachable moment” about the complexity of California water.  Would the Cadiz project benefit from failure of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (“BDCP”)?  The Voice says yes.  Professionals know that water is complex and the impact of a Bay Delta failure is no exception.  The big winner would be bi-national water projects, not Cadiz.   Continue reading