Saturday, December 21, 2013

Christmas In Northern California

It is almost Christmas and we have had almost no rain this season.   A terrible drought!   Al Gore will blame global warming, Deniers will say it is natural.  I will simply say the weather has changed and is weird.

We have had only 3.79 inches of rain since July 1.  Normal is 14.23 inches and last year we had 23.45 inches.

Our reservoir is pretty low and this should be the time of the year it replenishes.  I am worried.

Folks think it is simple to desalinate water but it is expensive and energy intensive.   A new large project for desalination is being undertaken in San Diego.   The link below provides a wealth of information.

If half of the cost of the desalinated water is the power cost (probably close to the reality) then it takes about 30 kilowatt hours of electricity to produce 1,000 gallons of fresh water from seawater.  This means a carbon footprint of about 22.5 pounds of CO2 per 1,000 gallons of water in a place like San Diego where the grid emits about 0.75 pounds of CO2 per kwh.   From the Marin data it looks like we use approximately 100 gallons a day of water per person.  Therefore to desalinate 100 pounds of sea water will emit about two and a quarter pounds of CO2.   A person breathes about 1 pound of CO2 each day if they eat 2,000 kilocalories a day.   If you drive and use 2 gallons of gasoline you add about 50 pounds of CO2 (well to wheels).

I am dreaming of a rainy Christmas as we need the rain desperately and the sun has been our source of fresh water and producing desal water is expensive and energy intensive.   I will research if the San Diego project is the state-of-the-art in water desalination.   From the write up in the link it looks like they have deployed best in class technology and $2,000 per acre foot is probably the real value of desalinated water.   This is about $6.15 per thousand gallons or about 62 cents for the daily usage per person.   Water is the most critically short resource world wide and a bunch is used to support our lifestyle.   Fracking needs water, power generation needs water, most industry needs water, and I need a Crystal Geyser.   I can buy 35 crystal geyser half liter bottles for $4.99 at Safeway.    But the state adds $1.75 for bottle redemption value on the 35 bottles that I of course recycle.  No doubt my recycle and trash hauler gets this money.   My cost for a half liter of Crystal Geyser water is 16.4 cents.  This equates to about 62 cents a gallon.  Desalinated water is one hundred times cheaper than Crystal Geyser.  I guess I am Gangrene for drinking Crystal Geyser.

An update

I found this site that provides the current state of the art kwh/1000 gals and it seems they claim about 15 kwh per 1,000 gals.   therefore the CO2 emissions for 100 gallons per person per day is approximately 1 pound of CO2 or about as much as the average person with a 2,000 kilocal diet emits from breathing.


  1. Interesting information on the SD desalination project. Be interested to know about their EIA findings and long-term projections. I'm still waiting to hear about these long term impacts of desalination in the Middle East and how all the by-products are being mindfully re-purposed.

    Ja, you are indeed gangrene when it comes to drinking bottled water. ;^)

    Why on Earth when, like the EBMUD your the MMWD supply is one of the best rated in water quality the USA, not to mention, regulated by the EPA?

    "In 2012, MMWD water met or surpassed every public health requirement set by the California Department of Public Health and the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency."

    I realize since 2009, bottled water has been regulated by the FDA. However, I'd rather drink water I have more control over than something a manufacturer processed. I can always blast tap water thru a filter before drinking.

    Get one of these.

  2. Your Alpine Spring water in Marin County probably comes from Crystal Geyser's Mt. Shasta plant. I hope the rainfall has been better there.

    We still have Voluntary Water Restrictions here in Houston. And controversy over the Edwards Aquifer being diverted for Fracking purposes in West Texas. A report just came out this week pointing to Carcinogens in the ground water off Fracking activities in Colorado. But different chemicals r used at each location determined by soil conditions.

  3. David and Kim thanks for your comments. My one vice is bottled water. I guess I just like the taste of fluorine even though Marin water is really quite good. I don't drink sodas or beer. I am saving the Marin water for fracking.

  4. Check this out, a way to use sunlight and catalyst to split water (or Sea water)
    then we can recombine the H2 and the O and MAKE (fresh) water and power at the same time and

  5. Ophir pretty interesting stuff. Probably will happen in your lifetime.



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