U.S. Mayors Ask Residents To Participate In Challenge for Water Conservation

(3BL Media/Justmeans) - Since April 1, mayors across the U.S. have been asking their residents to commit to conserving water and reducing pollution by participating in a national contest. The focus of the Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation is reducing water and energy use. Participants have a chance to win prizes, including a Toyota Prius Plug-In. The contest lasts through the month.

Three Ways California Agriculture Can Reduce Water Use

Almost the entire state of California is suffering from the fourth year of a historic drought. California is also the state with the largest agricultural sector in the U.S. Half of the domestically grown fruit, nuts and vegetables are grown in the golden state, which leads the nation in value of agricultural products. 

The Real Economic Value of California Agriculture

California is experiencing one of its worst droughts. This year marks the fourth year of the drought, and people all over the state are talking about water conservation. One industry is vilified over and over. It’s the industry that uses 80 percent of the state’s water supply. It is also the industry that supplies the nation with food. 

Businesses In California Reduce Water Use

Last year, California Governor Jerry Brown asked the Golden State’s residents to reduce water use by 20 percent. The reason he asked is that California is experiencing one of the worst droughts in its recent history. Despite recent storms in northern California, almost the entire state is still experiencing drought, and a big swath is experiencing exceptional drought. 

Grey Water Wagon Provides Recycling For Californians

Many lawns throughout California are looking rather brown and patchy. The reason is simple. California is experiencing its worst drought in 100 years. Most of the state is categorized as being in a severe drought. California Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency back in January and asked all Californians to conserve water by 20 percent. The state’s latest bi-weekly drought brief shows the drought’s impact across the golden state.

Comcast Launches Water Reduction Initiatives

While California suffers from one of its worst droughts on record, a major telecommunications company is doing what it can to conserve water in the golden state. Comcast recently announced it has introduced water reduction efforts in California with the goal of reducing water use by 25 percent or 10 million gallons a year. 

California Senators Introduce Legislation To Help Ease the Pain of Drought

All of California is in a drought and a huge swath of the state is in the worst category, exceptional drought. The drought is causing major problems for the state, including wildfires. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection has responded to over 4,000 wildfires across the state since January 1. One of those wildfires is currently raging within Yosemite National Park. Water wells are also going dry in some communities.

Hospital In California’s Drought Stricken Central Valley Will Use Recycled Water

In case you live in a bubble and don’t know that California is in the third year of one of its worst droughts, driving through many towns in the state this summer might give you a clue something is not normal. Many public properties feature brown lawns, as do many lawns in residential areas. The San Joaquin Valley is one area that is already dry due to its desert climate.

ACEEE Ranks World’s Largest Economies on Energy Efficiency

(3Bl Media/Justmeans) - We see a lot of analyses and projections showing why renewables, despite their rapid growth will not be able to provide sufficient energy to allow us to get off fossil fuels or nuclear for decades to come. Those analyses are based on assumptions regarding population growth, economic development and rate of energy consumption on a per capita basis.

But if you look at disparities in energy consumption, not just the obvious ones—developed vs. developing countries, but rather between countries and states with similar quality of life, we can see that there are still tremendous opportunities to be in exploited with regard to how efficiently we use energy. As an example, the state of Texas, uses 50% more energy than California, despite California’s 48% larger population.

If forecasts and projections were based on the best populations, who are bound to get even better, rather than the average, these renewable goals might begin to look far more achievable

The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) just completed a ranking of the 16 largest economies in the world. Results are somewhat surprising. The US, which likes to think of itself as technologically advanced, actually ranked 13th out of 16, while China, despite its sizeable growing pains, managed to achieve a 4th place rank.

Below is the list in order.

1.            Germany                

2.            Italy

3.            EU

4.            China

5.            France

6.            Japan

7.            UK

8.            Spain

9.            Canada

10.          Australia

11.          India

12.          South Korea

13.          US

14.          Russia

15.          Brazil

16.          Mexico

The ranking are based on thirty-one metrics, divided between policy metrics, which they call national efforts (e.g. national energy savings target, fuel economy standards) and performance metrics (e.g.  Average mpg, energy per square foot in buildings). State and local policies were not included. Performance metrics were divided between Buildings, Industry, and Transportation. These four categories were equally weighted, receiving 25 points apiece.

Solar Desalination Solves Many Problems

(3BL Media/Justmeans) - It seems fitting, with World Water Week just behind us, and with news of the latest, even more dire assessment of the impacts of climate change from the IPCC still making the rounds, that we should share this story which shows one very effective way to connect the dots.

Given the changes coming down the climate pipeline, water is going to be an area of particular  concern, because we are so completely dependent on it to live, and because it’s going to be getting harder to find. Droughts are expected to increase. Snow melt, which often provides water in many regions for most of the year, is accelerating, often providing floods instead of nourishment, and changing rainfall patterns can deprive areas of water that previously had plenty.

Water and energy are inextricably linked. It takes lots of energy to pump water from one place to another and today’s thermal power plants with their cooling towers are among the nation’s largest consumers of water.

For all of these reasons, the announcement of a new solar desalination initiative is welcome news.

WaterFX is using a 377 foot-long solar array to turn brackish water, a mixture of fresh and salt water, into pure distilled water, also producing concentrated mineral salts as a byproduct. Brackish water is commonly found in estuaries, deltas and mangrove swamps, but it is becoming increasingly common as agricultural drainage as freshwater aquifers are depleted. This phenomenon is known as saltwater encroachment. It can also be expected to increase as sea level rises.

The Water FX technology, which has been dubbed “drought buster,” is currently being demonstrated in a $1 million project at the Panoche Water and Drainage District in Firebaugh, which serves the agriculturally rich Central Valley in California. Their Aqua4™ Concentrated Solar Still uses an approach that differs significantly from conventional desalination technology. Not only is it powered by the sun instead of electricity or other means, but it also relies on evaporation rather than reverse osmosis (RO) which is more commonly used. RO has been considered the more cost-effective approach due to the high energy cost associated with evaporation, but with the Concentrated Solar Still, the energy is free and clean. The rate at which fresh water can be recovered from salt or brackish water is also higher, as much as 93%, compared to 50% for RO systems. It also produces commercially desirable concentrated mineral salts as a byproduct.

A larger, commercial version of this plant, will be built later this year on 31 acres of land, capable of producing roughly two million gallons per day.


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