The May 2012 Newsletter talks about my garden, and how my plants are doing. There are a few tips for garden maintenance and irrigation, as well!
For about 20 million people living in Southern California, water is not something that should be taken for granted. Due to many factors such as climate and geography, Southern California simply does not get enough water to sustain itself. As a result, Southern California agencies and entities must import water from other regions-most commonly Northern California. However, this has created an environmental catastrophe for many aquatic species, such as the Bay Delta Smelt. This small fish struggles to survive in an ecosystem where it used to thrive. This is because the salinity levels (amount of salt in the water) flux with increased and decreased pumping to Southern California. As Southern California’s water supply decreases, more (fresh) water is pumped from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. As a result, seawater then mixes with the remaining fresh water, and makes it inhospitable for the smelt.
Water purveyors and municipalities do, undoubtedly, try to conserve water. However, these agencies and municipalities tend to push for more water conservation during dry years, and they often relax conservation efforts in years with plenty of rain. This causes a long-term problem because not enough is being done about water conservation. Efforts must be made year-round, rain or shine to make a lasting long-term impact on water conservation. As a result of the fluctuating water conservation efforts, consumers often do not realize how big of an issue water conservation really is. For example, agencies push to conserve water during dry years, and then reduce efforts during wet years. Customers then forget about water conservation during wet years. While this might work short-term, we need to conserve water ALL of the time-rain or shine, regardless of how full our reservoirs and aquifers are.
Yes, it actually is possible to pull moisture out of air—even dry desert air. This process was demonstrated by Edward Linacre from the Swinburne University of Technology. Linacre uses biomimicry to imitate the Namib beetle. This beetle lives in deserts that often receive as little as half an inch of rain per year. The beetle is able to survive in such dry climates by capturing condensed moisture on its back during the cool morning. The beetle has a hydrophilic surface on its back, which essentially catches or snags particles of water that are blowing by on the cool breeze. These molecules then gather other molecules and eventually grow into water droplets.
The device that was designed and built by Linacre uses these same principles to condense moisture from the dry air, and then release it into the ground for plants. Linacre’s device has been shown to produce as much as 11.5 milliliters per cubic meter of air circulates. This process can be slightly altered to deposit condensed water vapor into a bucket or other device to provide clean drinking water. The project was an entry into a contest for the James Dyson Award. Linacre received $14,000 from Dyson. Swinburne University of Technology also received $14,000 as an award for this device.
Natural disasters are seldom thought of in California, aside from earthquakes. Disastrous earthquakes occur relatively infrequently, in fact. For example, the last “disastrous” earthquake took place on October 17, 1989. That was 22 years ago. Other regions of the Unites States, for instance, must endure natural disasters on a seasonal basis. Some regions face droughts much more severe than those we see in California. Other regions deal with tidal surges, hurricanes, tornadoes, or snowstorms. Should California be worried about natural disasters other than earthquakes? According to the Water Education Foundation, Californians should be prepared for flooding.
The Central Valley, ranging from Redding in the north to Bakersfield in the south has experienced serious flooding in the past. Emmy award-winning producer Stephanie Locher has produced a 30-minute documentary called Overcoming the Deluge: California’s Plan for Managing Floods. This documentary focuses on the past, present, and future flood management techniques and strategies of California’s Central Valley. This short documentary will air on Wednesday, November 9th at 7:00 pm; Friday, November 11th at 4:00 pm; and Sunday, November 13th at 6:00 pm on Sacramento’s KVIE Channel 6.
This documentary includes stories from Central Valley residents who have first-hand experience of severe floods. The documentary also features interviews with water experts from the California Department of Water Resources, The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, The Bureau of Reclamation, The Central Valley Flood management Program, and other environmental groups. The goal of this documentary is to educate interested parties about the sustainable, integrated, holistic flood management plan that is being implemented in the Central Valley.
Yesterday, Democratic lawmakers announced a series of bills that would assign a council specifically to govern water conservation in the San Joaquin Delta. As we have mentioned in recent blog posts, The Delta is very important to the water supply in California. From discussions of canals and tunnels to regulations regarding fish safety, it is becoming apparent that determining what to do with the delta is a major issue.
There are not yet many details about what exactly the proposed bills would entail, but it seems likely that a council focused solely on the issue is in order. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger issued a short statement, noting that this issue is very important and the time to deal with it is now. He promised bipartisanship and looks forward to seeing the details unfold.
Teri Sforza writes in The OC Register about The Municipal Water District of Orange County’s response to claims that its southern cities, Laguna Beach, San Juan Capistrano, and San Clemente, would leave the umbrella of MWDOC and form their own Water District. MWDOC issued a report that found a large amount of money would be wasted if this happened.
The proposed new water agency would be called south Orange County Water Authority and it comes as a sort of mirror to the United States’ formation out of Great Britain. They list a series of concerns in a report, saying they disagree with some decisions and policies of MWDOC.
The southern cities and agencies claim that the new water authority would save customers money. MWDOC’s rebuttal offers figures to back up its claim that, long-term, both the southern and northern cities would lose money. Not only that, but MWDOC is currently number 3 under the umbrella of MWD, and its power on the water board would suffer due to the division.
The article provides facts and rebuts so-called misinformation from the report. It looks like there is some tension among cities in Orange County regarding water. So, what will come of this? Will the southern cities get their wish and break away from MWDOC? Or can the two parties patch things up and retain stability within MWDOC?
Quoting Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”, John Patrick Ford explores the problem of water shortage in San Diego in his article entitled, “Water, Water Everywhere.” While the source material is an epic poem filled with allegory and imagery, the article explores the interesting paradox of water availability.
The Pacific Ocean certainly does not suffer from a dearth of water. San Diego is home to beautiful beaches and it’s shores are met with a constant flow of water. Yet, this water is filled with salt and is not fit for drinking. San Diego gets the majority of its drinking water from the San Francisco Bay Delta. As other areas, such as Long Beach, search for ways to be more self reliant for water supply, San Diego’s most logical, yet most expensive solution is a desalination plant.
If San Diego can harvest the ample water from the Pacific Ocean and turn it into drinking water, why not do it? Poseidon Resources is already constructing a Carlsbad based desalination plant. While it will be expensive, new developments in technology make it possible to cut costs in half by switching to desalination, rather than importing from the other side of the state.
The other viable option has been soured by its nickname, “toilet to tap.” The idea of purifying grey water and making it into potable, or drinkable, water is actually a good idea, but people refuse to get behind it until they lose the stigma that it was once toilet water.
Whatever the choice, something needs to be done soon to combat the current drought in San Diego. What do you think should be done?
Read the article here.