Tag Archive for 'desalination'

Group kicks off campaign to put desal before Santa Cruz voters

Desal measure kickoff drive

Santa Cruz residents sign petitions to put the desal plant up for a vote crowd into India Joze restaurant Sunday. (Dan Coyro/Sentinel Dan Coyro/Sentinel Dan Coyro/Sentinel)

“SANTA CRUZ – Organizers of a ballot measure designed to put a planned desalination plant to a vote are set to begin circulating petitions around the city.

“About 100 people attended a kickoff party Sunday for a drive to place a measure on the November ballot that would require Santa Cruz city leaders to obtain voter approval before the desal plant is built.

“If passed by a majority of city voters, the measure would amend the city’s charter to ensure the city “does not approve, permit or fund a desalination plant without voter approval.” The amendment also would bar the city from incurring debt for the controversial project.

“Rick Longinotti, a desal opponent and member of the initiative’s steering committee, told the crowd assembled at India Joze restaurant that they would need about 5,500 signatures, or about 15 percent of city voters, by May to get on the ballot. Sunday’s event served to sign up petition volunteers.

“The measure, dubbed the Right to Vote on Desalination, does not take a position on whether a desalination plant is a good idea, he said. But he believes voters should be able to decide.”

Read more: Santa Cruz Sentinel

Desalination: Little Oversight of California Water Boards

Indide Doheny Beach pilot desal plant. Retrieved from: DC Bureau

“Dana Point, California –When it comes to pushing for energy-intensive ocean desalination projects along the coast of California, the motivation of some water board members is being questioned.

“The wife of the pro-desalination chairman of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is a consultant to the Orange County water district, and she helped permit the Doheny Beach pilot desalination plant. She is also vocal in encouraging CalDesal, a nonprofit pro-desalination lobbying group supported by public water agencies.

“I think there’s a problem there,” says Debbie Cook, a former Huntington Beach City Council member who has been looking for conflicts of interest among the region’s often overlooked water boards.

“Kevin Hunt, district manager, says the fact Foley’s wife, Mary Jane, is paid by the district does not violate any law or regulation because Foley is not a board member, but rather an appointed representative to the regional water board.

“Reached during a tour of the Doheny Beach desalination pilot project, Foley denies that his wife’s involvement with desalination poses any conflict. “She believes in desal,” Foley, a retired Army colonel, says. “That’s the fundamental problem.”

“Asked about his own position on desalination, Foley says he is in complete support.

“But we have a difficult time with a lot of opposition that’s not really sustainable,” Foley says. “It will fade as we develop more need. Unfortunately, we have an abundance of water right now. In the long run we’re going to need desalination. We’ve probably pushed conservation as far as we can, quite frankly. Any more money poured into it is not going to return that much.”

Read more: DC Bureau

LAFCO to weigh new water supply policy: Rules have implications for UCSC expansion plans

photo retrieved from: SantaCruz.com

“SANTA CRUZ — Critics of university growth are gearing up to fight the city attorney’s attempt to dilute a new water stewardship policy proposed for the agency that eventually will determine whether Santa Cruz can extend water service to the north campus.

“Environmental attorney Gary Patton, a former county supervisor who for years has battled UC Santa Cruz and the city over campus expansion plans, says the city attorney overstepped his bounds by not getting full City Council approval before urging the Santa Cruz Local Agency Formation Commission to soften proposed rules requiring land use applications include thorough water supply assessments.

“Patton said the council should have heard from the public before City Attorney John Barisone took issue with LAFCO’s proposed rules in a letter last week, but several city officials say they support the letter. LAFCO’s governing committee will hold a public hearing on the water policy Wednesday.

“The proposed rules would require land use applications “to demonstrate that availability of an adequate, reliable and sustainable supply of water.” The rules have direct bearing on requests filed by the city and UCSC to establish water and sewer service for new campus buildings — applications that Patton tried unsuccessfully to block with a recent lawsuit.

“But if an independent review by LAFCO “found that the water supply situation was not good,” the agency “might well deny the extension of new service into new areas,” Patton said. “That would be the logical thing to do.”

Read more: Mercury News

Desalination No Silver Bullet for California’s Water Woes

Photo retrieved from: SantaCruz.com

“Water has been called the lifeblood of the American West. Nowhere is this more true than in California, where dwindling water resources and a swelling population are pushing water agencies, businesses and nonprofits to find new ways to slake the state’s growing thirst. Some say the state only needs to look west to the Pacific Ocean for a partial solution to its problem.

“About 20 seawater desalination plants are in various stages of planning and development along the coast.

“It’s kind of like the Gold Rush,” said Paul Choules, vice president for desalination and reuse for Veolia Water Solutions and Technologies, one of the world’s biggest desalination companies, of the potential desalination market in California. “Unfortunately, there’s no gold there yet.”

“And it’s unlikely that desalination alone will be the silver bullet that eliminates the state’s water woes. Long timelines, high price tags, complex permitting and environmental challenges mean it could be a long time before most of those plants start producing fresh water — if they ever do. Meanwhile, some water experts say measures such as conservation and water reuse could meet the state’s future water needs.”

read more: Reuters

Desalination Nation

The largest U.S. desalination plant is located in Tampa Bay, Florida, and is co-located with a power plant. Image: Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)

The largest U.S. desalination plant is located in Tampa Bay, Florida, and is co-located with a power plant. Image: Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Retrieved from: healthybay.org

“There’s no question that the idea of a drought-proof supply of drinking water is a tantalizing one, especially in water-challenged areas. But, as most of us learn pretty early in life, nothing comes for free.

“The process of converting salt water to drinking water is highly energy-intensive. In San Diego it takeseight times more electricity to produce about 325,000 gallons of water through desalination than it takes to pump the same amount of groundwater. Because desalinated water is so energy-dependent, water customers are vulnerable to rises in energy costs.

“This is where desalination stumbles its way into the “energy-water nexus.” In short, generating electricity requires a lot of water, while treating and moving water requires a lot of electricity. Desalination does not help to ease the burden of these interconnected demands, in fact it makes the situation worse.

“Consider the added demand from a new desalination plant on the electric grid – a grid fed by power plants that also require a tremendous amount of water for cooling. In other words, we’re creating drinking water for one water-starved location using massive amounts of electricity generated with massive amounts of water somewhere else. Such a scenario raises an obvious question – Does this make good sense?”

read more: Huffington Post

Q & A Water Ways

coverweb” The desalination plant may be one of the biggest controversies in the county’s history. It will remove 5 million gallons of seawater each day from the Monterey Bay to produce 2.5 million gallons of drinkable water. The remaining brine will be trucked to a water plant, mixed with treated wastewater, and put back into the Bay.

“Desalination is one of the most energy-intensive methods of producing water. And as the city of Santa Cruz has implemented successful water-saving strategies during past droughts, environmental leaders say water needs could be met by maintaining restrictions during non-drought years.  “If we use less during the years before a drought, we will enter the dry spell with more water in Loch Lomond,” says David Stearns, a community activist who organized two seminar forums on the issue last winter.

“Santa Cruz city leaders say that water conservation alone won’t solve the problem. “We need to conserve water as much as we can, but we will still need to increase supply,” says Toby Goddard, water conservation manager for the Santa Cruz City Water District.

“The water district’s energy report has yet to be published. Originally slated for release this summer, the report totals the plant’s energy demand under different design and use scenarios.

“Also delayed are two environmental reports, one outlining options for brine discharge, and another indicating the impacts of ocean water intake on sea life. Both reports were originally slated for release this spring, but remain incomplete.


“Despite these unknowns, officials are moving full speed ahead. On March 23, the Santa Cruz City Council unanimously endorsed the desalination plant, giving the green light for design and planning. In April the results of a 14-month pilot desalination plant were released. Competing proposals for the plant’s design were received on May 27. Built at the Long Marine Lab, the pilot plant made 72,000 gallons of water a day using four different methods of desalination. Two achieved desirable water quality products, but consumed 9.7 and 10.5 kilowatt hours per 1,000 gallons—a little less than the final plant’s energy demand, which will be higher as large-scale operations are less efficient. In contrast, it takes three kilowatt hours to remove and treat river water from the San Lorenzo.”

read more: Good Times

Monterey County approves desal plant; Peninsula water rates could double

“MCWRA board member Steve Collins said rates for a family of four on the Monterey Peninsula would double to about $80 monthly. “It’s significant,” he said, “but I’m paying that now in Salinas. A family of four in Alisal is already paying nearly $80.”

“California American Water must comply with a November order by the state Water Resources Control Board to reduce Carmel River pumping from about 11,000 acre feet per year to no more than 3,336 by 2016. It’s a drop of about 70 percent that the desalination project is meant to compensate for.”

read more: The Calif0rnian

Santa Cruz water chief defends plans for desal plant

“The head of the Santa Cruz Water Department, Bill Kocher, staunchly defended plans to build a desalination plant, telling a crowd of nearly 200 residents Thursday that there is no other option for surviving a severe drought like the one Santa Cruz experienced in the mid-1970s.

“Cook, who served on the state Desalination Task Force, said general water use is too high and the focus should be on changing behaviors rather than “applying a technical fix.”

“Relying on desalination to augment water supplies, she said, is “energy down the drain.”

read more: Santa Cruz Sentinel

Desal study wins WasteWatch prize

Peak Water

“Retired water treatment engineer Ken Quick won $1000 for his entry which claimed Sydney’s $1.9 billion desalination plant is money down the drain.

“If you would have spent almost $2 billion on stormwater harvesting and recycling water you would have got a lot more for your money.”

read more: weekly times now

Santa Cruz City Council supports next step in desal plant

“In a nod to naysayers, Mayor Mike Rotkin sought to remind the public that removing salt from seawater for use in the city’s water system is designed to address rainwater shortages and saltwater intrusion, not support future growth at UC Santa Cruz or elsewhere. “It’s really about drought protection,” he said.

“Rotkin threatened to have arrested an unidentified man who repeatedly shouted at council members. The man told council members they should support solar desalination because of the electricity required to run the proposed plant.

“Opponents also argue greater conservation could better address water shortages and desalination could harm marine life. But supporters say conservation measures aren’t enough to backfill shortages in severe drought years.”

read more: Santa Cruz Sentinel