Originally Posted by pondering_it_all
California needs to actually do something about their water supply problem. They are now talking about cutting off Central Valley farmer's water supply. This is some of the most productive agricultural land in the US. The state needs to build a lot of desalination plants all along the coast. The Carlsbad plant has several years of experience of producing 50 million gallons of pure fresh water per day. My water district buys part of their output, and note that the California Water Authority has no plans to cut water for San Diego.

Now there certainly is some stupid water use in Central Valley agriculture raising crops that require a lot of water, like the almonds that are mostly exported to China. But I think the growers could actually change their prices enough to cover their water costs of a changed model that does not depend on Sierra snowpack. We have thousands of square miles of desert East of the Sierras and Southern mountain ranges, that have extremely abundant sunshine. PV panels are the cheapest way of generating electricity now, often as low as 2 cents per KWHr. We could build those solar farms, the transmission lines needed to carry the power to the coast, and the desalination plants to make the fresh water. This would give us a totally-predictable water supply.

Instead of two desalination plants, we should have 30. Pumping the water to the Central Valley would be pretty cheap, as most of the Central Valley has low elevations. Done right, we could even run the canals now carrying water South backwards. Sending it that way would actually be downhill!

I am intentionally going to necro this thread because it deserves the respect it originally generated, and clearly we're still talking about the exact same subject six years later, almost to the day.
In honor of Scoutgal...

I know that high speed rail sounds like a great idea but apparently we've reached a Hell of an impasse on that, and I daresay we need the water more than we need the fancy high speed trains right now. There's been talk of putting in some "autobahn" type high speed lanes on I-5 to make the trip to NorCal a bit faster.
That may help some...certainly a lot cheaper than our high speed rail debacle.

So let's utilize some of that high speed rail money and put it into desal...SOLAR powered desal. Let's let California lead the way again in high tech solutions to immediate problems.
The brine? Geezus man, it's not nuclear waste, I'm sure that brine can be put to use for something...it's mostly salt fer chrissakes.

Are we actually saying that it is impossible to figure out how to dry out the brine to the point where we just have a s**t ton of SALT?
And are we saying that a s**t ton of SALT is such an overwhelming threat that we simply can't do anything about it?

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