Pacific Swell

Southern California environment news and trends

California Drought News: Cheaper desalination and other bids for water independence

80387 full
80387 full

Tuesday's drought roundup says, "Not unless it's made of bees." Confused? Read on.

  • Santa Monica plans to be water independent by 2020. Here are some of the ways it's trying to get there. (Sacramento Bee).
  • The Central Valley has been home to a solar thermal desalination plant for a year. By next year, the operator plans to expand it so that it produces 2 million gallons each day: 

And here's the part that gets the farmers who buy his water most excited: His solar desalination plant produces water that costs about a quarter of what more conventionally desalinated water costs: $450 an acre-foot versus $2,000 an acre-foot. (San Francisco Gate)

  • I've been wondering how car washing businesses are faring in this drought. Turns out, most have rules on recycling water. But no one can beat a waterless car washing method. (San Jose Mercury News)
  • The Guardian has a somewhat meandering piece on the drought's effects on agriculture, greywater and flood risk. The nerd in me must point out that for hives to be fed "the bee equivalent of Soylent Green," it must be made from bees, not protein and sugar water. But I digress. My takeaway is the nugget that it's changed the rules for designating milk as organic:

Grass can’t stay alive, leaving cows little to munch on. So, for February and March, the USDA is giving milk and meat producers a break: their cows “are not required to graze or provide dry matter intake from pasture during this time period.” (The Guardian)

  • Melody Gutierrez visits Paso Robles wine makers and details the fight over groundwater management. A proposal for reform is being sent to Governor Brown. (SF Gate)

Got a tip or a comment? Weigh in on the drought news below!

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