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The future will see San Diego recycle every drop we use and make up the difference from the ocean.                                                                      --Peter MacLaggan, vice president of Poseidon Water


Note: WaterSanDiego does not endorse any products, or receive any compensation for mentioning them. All products are listed only to give readers an idea of the variety of possible current technology to enhance our water supply. If you know of more possibilities, please let us know!



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.


After twelve years of planning and over six years in the state’s permitting process, the Carlsbad Desalination Project has received final approvals from every required regulatory and permitting agency in the state, including the California Coastal Commission, State Lands Commission and Regional Water Quality Control Board. A 30-year Water Purchase Agreement is in place between the San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA) and Poseidon for the entire output of the plant. Construction on the plant and pipeline is under way and the Project will be delivering water to the businesses and residents in San Diego County late 2015.


Poseidon specializes in developing and financing water infrastructure projects, primarily seawater desalination and water treatment plants. Poseidon’s projects are implemented through innovative public-private partnerships that link private financing with the construction and operation of water supply and treatment projects.



Business Wire, 8/31/15

"Patricia A. Burke, secretary general of the International Desalination Association, praised the San Diego region in written remarks [to the International Desalination Association's World Congress on Desalination and Water Reuse, in San Diego] conference delegates, saying it has been 'forward-thinking in terms of water management.'


"Said Burke: 'San Diego has long been considered to be the epicenter of desalination and water reuse development in the USA, and it continues to be a hotbed of innovation. It is home to many of the industry’s leading membrane manufacturers, universities, research and development centers, project developers and industry leaders.' ”


The New Yorker, Amanda Little 7/22/14


Built in collaboration with the San Diego County Water Authority and Poseidon, a private developer of water infrastructure, the [Carlsbad dessal] plant will come online in early fall, and is currently in the early stages of startup. Nearly a tenth of the San Diego County’s total water supply—enough for about four hundred thousand county residents—will come from this facility. A hundred million gallons of ocean water will be pumped through the plant per day; half will become drinking water, the other half will flow back into the ocean carrying the removed salt. . . .


Roughly fourteen billion gallons  of desalinated drinking water are produced each day, by thousands of plants scattered along the coastlines of China, India, Australia, Spain, and other countries with scarce freshwater supplies. According to the International Desalination Association, Ras Al-Khair, in Saudi Arabia, is the largest desal plant in the world, producing two hundred and seventy-three million gallons of drinking water per day, more than five times the capacity of Carlsbad. In Israel, the technology produces about a quarter of the nation’s water supply. . . .


Desal has been around for millennia if you count the evaporation techniques pioneered by Greek sailors in the fourth century B.C. They boiled saltwater and then captured the steam. . . .


. . .  advances in reverse-osmosis technology have cut the total amount of energy used in desalination by about half in the past two decades. Add to that the fact that almost all of the freshwater consumed by the twenty-two million people of Southern California is imported, much of it pumped long distances, over mountains, from Northern California—a process that also burns lots of energy. . . . 

The Carlsbad plant will add five to seven dollars a month to the average household bill, but the San Diego Water Authority expects that, within about a decade, the desalinated water will become less expensive than imported water: as fresh supplies dwindle, the cost of water imported to Southern Californian cities has been climbing more than seven per cent a year. . . .


As for lingering concerns about the impact of desalination on marine life, the data is limited and vague. Globally, there has been little research showing any significant damage to fish populations.


Eric Miller, a marine scientist at M.B.C., a firm that performs environmental assessments on industrial plants, including Carlsbad, found that among the three fish species that will be most affected by the plant—gobies, combtooth blennies, and northern anchovies—the effect is minimal. “On a population scale, it’s a non-impact,” he said.


"Activists who opposed Carlsbad offered little clarity about other specific threats the plant may pose to marine life: 'There is some information out there, but I don’t think we can tell exactly what’s going to happen,' Matt O’Malley, an attorney for the San Diego Coastkeeper, said.  . . ."



La Jolla Light, Pat Sherman 8/25/15


“ 'The folks from UCSD and Scripps Institute came to us and told me there are rivers in the atmosphere you can’t see, but that regularly come through and basically have as much water as the Mississippi River,' [State Senator Marty] Block said, noting his bill seeks to provide $9 million for research to tap into these rivers in the sky when they soar past San Diego. 'We’re not very good at predicting when they’re going to be here and we’re not very good at tapping the water source.'


Block said Scripps Researchers, including Martin Ralph, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Western Weather & Water Extremes at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, told him researchers are working to develop a method to 'properly seed these rivers when they’re coming over California to dump water on California. If we have additional infrastructure we can collect that water, whether it’s large reservoirs or just individual folks having large tanks to use water themselves.'

Each year during the fall, federal law requires that water be drained from local reservoirs 'even in a drought because there’s a fear of flooding,' Block said, noting that knowing when atmospheric rivers might arrive could help avoid this needless water waste."

More about Rivers in the Sky:



San Diego Union Tribune, 7/17/15

" 'I have an easy, workable plan to potentially reduce water use by 40%,' says Dave Ferguson, semiretired real-estate executive . . . Let him and other homeowners . . . run a line from nearby purple pipes to water his outdoor property."


San Diego 6, 6/22/15


SAN DIEGO - "A first of its kind" home development in San Diego is promising to help families conserve up to 100,000 gallons of water every year.


The houses located in the new Sea Cliff community offer advance water conservation technology right in your own backyard. 


Leaders with the California Building Industry Association said this type of water saving system may be something we see more of in the future as the state deals with the on-going drought.


It’s a small unit with the capability of having a huge impact on how we conserve water. 


"It takes the soapy water which is most of your water usage; you put it in the machine. We take all the soap and hair out so, it ends up looking and smelly like tap water. So, instead of putting drinking water on your lawn you can make every drop count,” said Ralph Petroff, founder of Nexus Water.


The water recycling system is simple to use, drain water is collected from the home, then cleaned and treated. The treated water is then stored and re-used.  


"A home built in California; a few years ago, each person would be using 150 gallons a day. Now, over time we've reduced that down to 75 percent and if we recycle two thirds of that, then we can eliminate or severely reduce the amount of potable water that goes on lawns," said Petroff.


CNN, 4/24/14


Water-Gen has developed an Atmospheric Water-Generation Units using its "GENius" heat exchanger to chill air and condense water vapor. . . .


The system produces 250-800 liters (65-210 gallons) of potable water a day depending on temperature and humidity conditions and Kohavi says it uses two cents' worth of electricity to produce a liter of water.


Another product Water-Gen has developed is a portable water purification system. It's a battery-operated water filtration unit called Spring. Spring is able to filter 180 liters (48 gallons) of water, and fits into a backpack -- enabling water filtration on the go.



Skywater® machines make drinking water from humidity in the air. Island Sky®’s patented adiabatic distillation technology, leads the industry in air to water technology. Skywater® atmospheric water generators, or AWG's can extract more water vapor in varied climates than most air to water devices worldwide.  . . .

Skywater® products alleviate dependence from the local water supply, by harvesting enough fresh water from the air to supply a single-family home, office, and much more… The Skywater® 14 home / office machine may be the most convenient kitchen appliance since the refrigerator. No more lifting heavy water bottles for your water cooler, simply plug in Skywater® products and enjoy fresh, great tasting water for pennies to the liter.



Forbes, 7/1/15, Kavin Senapathy, Dr. Henry I. Miller 


" . . . But the greatest boon of all both to food security and to the environment in the long term might ultimately be the ability of new crop varieties to tolerate periods of drought and other water-related stresses. Where water is unavailable for irrigation, the development of crop varieties able to grow under conditions of low moisture or temporary drought could both boost yields and lengthen the time that farmland is productive. By making no-till cultivation possible, genetic engineering of crops for herbicide tolerance helps to trap soil moisture (and also releases less CO2 to the atmosphere). Under drought conditions, this can mean the difference between having a harvest and crop failure.


"Genetic engineering also conserves water by allowing agriculture production in salty soils. Fully one-third of irrigated land worldwide, including much of California, is unsuitable for growing crops, and every year nearly 500,000 acres of irrigated land are lost to cultivation due to salt accumulation. Scientists have enhanced salt tolerance in crops as diverse as tomatoes and canola and made them irrigable with brackish water, thus conserving fresh water for other uses.


"Pest- and disease-resistant genetically engineered crop varieties also indirectly conserve water. Because much of the loss of crop yields to insects and diseases occurs after the plants are fully grown—that is, after most of the water required to grow a crop has already been applied—this means more agricultural output per unit of water invested.


"In the United States and about 30 other countries, farmers are using genetically engineered crop varieties to produce higher yields, with lower inputs and reduced impact on the environment. Combined with traits like pest-resistance, engineering drought-tolerance into plant varieties would help California get the most crop for the drop. Thus, a smaller water footprint and more 'virtual water.' " . . .



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