As we worry through another year of possible drought, we are blessed with an atmospheric river of storms. Yet another dam proposed by Dan Walters of CalMatters.org will not fit the situation. Building a dam is not the only means to solve this problem of adequate water for a growing population. Four doable solutions are proposed in the Dec. 14 issue of Ag Alert by Edward Ring, senior fellow at California Policy Center.
Build more desalination plants than the only one in California just north of San Diego. The $1 billion Carlsbad Plant 2015 desalinates water for nearly half a million people each year. Imitating this inexhaustible water supply is a must.
This, my favorite, is to build reservoirs with no high walls in dry valleys away from rivers so as not to interfere with vital river flows. These would provide a safety valve for dams by providing an extra basin for filling. Flooded runoff could be pumped into these reservoirs during storms thus preventing early dam release. A $4 billion site is proposed north of Sacramento that could store enough water to irrigate 150,000 acres of farmland per year. Irrigation water for the ground to drink is to feed us and our economy.
Next, our wastewater can be recycled. We need a plant to filter wastewater and treat it similarly as it would be treated if left in the ground to become clean. Enough plants to recycle statewide city wastewater per year would supply enough water for three million people.
This last process is an underground system of piping water from high supply regions of the Delta to low supply regions of the San Joaquin Valley. The Delta is a rich land from water deposits at the mouths of the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers. The pipes would be perforated and would originate beneath gravel aquifers in the Delta and would reach underground aquifers in the valley, replenishing valley aquifers to fullness.
These projects have the potential to harvest and store water in California cities and farms regardless of droughts and snowfall. Plus, being worry-free about having sufficient water would be simply amazing.