The aim of this report is to evaluate two different water provision methods, namely desalination and groundwater for the arid area of California and recommend which method is the most suitable the following criteria will be used:
- Public acceptance.
- Water quality.
- Information Specific to region
California is one of the regions, which have been adversely hit by the effects of climate change. The State is experiencing increased drought, which has resulted to reduced water supplies to animals, agriculture and people as well. In addition, the effects of climate change have resulted to the devastating bush fires being experienced in Southern California. The prolonged drought in the region endangers the water supply for the California’s population. Figure below is climate level for California.
Figure 1: Climate Data. Source: U.S Climate Data (2015).
The figure shows increase in temperature levels and decline in precipitation in 2014.
California is the third largest state in the U.S with a population of 37,679,000. It is located on the western coast of the U.S extending to the Pacific Ocean all the way from the Mexican border to the state of Oregon. Major cities in California are such as Los Angeles, Nevada, San Diego, and San Francisco. Other than extensive beaches and large farmlands, California has a desert the, Mojave Desert, which encompasses the colloquially-defined High Desert region. In addition, the Colorado Desert and the warmer Sonoran Desert are also part of California.
- Water Problem around the world
The problem of water is a global issue, which affects millions of people. According to the United Nations, 85% of the global populations dwell in semi and semi-arid regions and that 783 million people lack access to clean water, whilst 6 million die annually from water related catastrophes (United Nations 2013). Since the population of the world surpassed 7 billion by 2011, this is expected to increase water consumption and competition for the declining water sources (UN, 2013). Given that the number of urban population around the world is going to increase, the UN projects increased demand for clean water. Nonetheless, the effects of climate change continue to affect the level of precipitation, consequently decreasing the availability of water. Moreover, drought in most parts in the world will result to water problems in the near future. As regards to Africa, most of the countries in sub-Saharan region are affected by the issue of water supply as a result of climate change, drought, and lack of precipitation.
- Presentation of Option
There are several methods, which could be used to provide clean water to people and agriculture. Some these include, ground water, rainwater harvesting, desalination, construction of dams and reservoirs, and water recycling, among others.
- Option 1: Desalination
This method entails truing salt water into clean and safe drinking water and it is appropriate to states bordering oceans and seas. It entails removal the salt found in sea water. Notably, desalination is one of the oldest and most popular techniques of water provision and water treatment methods. The installation of desalination plants in arid areas has the likelihood to increase the production of fresh water in arid areas (Koundouri 2006), which in turn, would reducing the demand pressure for fresh water in these areas. The diagram below is one of the desalination plants established in the 1980s.
Figure 2: Desalination Plant. Source: Sydney Catchment Authority (2007).
- Option 2: Dams and Water Reservoirs
This entails the construction of water barriers with the intention of capturing water runoff and using it for different purposes such as agriculture and domestic use. As regards to California, the state has rivers, it experiences rains, and for these reasons, runoff water could be captured and utilized by people and for agriculture. Below is a diagram of dams and water reservoirs.
Figure 3 Dam and Water Reservoirs. Source: Lund, Munévar, and Taghavi (2014).
- Requirement Options
The possible methods of water provision to the arid region of California were compared according to the following criteria:
- Public Acceptance
Public acceptance measure the degree to which people accept the water provided through the use of the different water provision methods. Water provision method should duly be acceptable by majority of the people in terms of the costs to be incurred and distribution and effects to the environment. In a survey conducted by Hanak and Simeti (14) to determine Caifornia’s water suppy and growth, the survey’s findings revealed that a large number of the country and city departments in the state of California are actively involved on planning activities in regards to their water utilities.
- Water Quality
Water quality determines the quality in terms of cleanliness, the salinity, safety, and effects to the body. Water provided should be free from germs, good for drinking and other activities and accessible. Case study research and surveys that have been conducted in California since the 1970s seem to generally give the impression that the public in this state suppoirt the idea of using reclaimed water. They also appear to be recepotive of reuse initiatives of non-potable water (Hartley 118). By and large, people in California favour the type of reuse that affords environemntal protection benefits, enhance water conservation, and protects human health (Hartley 119).
- Comparisons Options
- Public Acceptance
The use of desalination is acceptable in California as budget has been allocated. However, to achieve sustainable water provision, this method is capital intensive and requires financing. On the other hand, dams and reservoirs are acceptable in spite of the large amount of financing required. Both methods are more likely to occupy land, which may affect public opinion on the same. Nonetheless, both options are viable given the demand for water. According to Dolnicar Hurlimann and Grün (2011) recycled water and desalinated water is acceptable in most states and based on these findings, the probability for acceptance is very high. However, the power consumption rates (about 15,000 kilowatt-hours) could hinder the acceptance of desalination in California (Water Use Association 2011).
- Water Quality
As regards to water quality, desalination has been criticized because seawater has clay, fine sand, salts, and microbes, which can pass even after desalination process. However, technology advancement makes this option viable as contaminants can easily be removed. On the other hand, dams and reservoirs provide water, however, the quality of water is questionable given that its only runoff water which is collected and stored. As such, the question of water quality arises under this water provision method. However, water treatment could be used, which is an extra cost to the government.
- California is affected by climate change and drought.
- Millions of people lack water access around the world
- Both Desalination andDams and water reservoirs are viable, however,
- Desalination is more preferred in terms of water quality and public acceptance.
- Given the location of California and the numerous beaches, this would be a major method of water provisions, in spite the costs incurred.
- So far, this method is being tested to solve the California water problem
The most appropriate option is desalination, in spite of the huge costs required. This is because California is located next to Pacific Ocean, which has adequate of water, which can be used for many years. In addition, the technological costs are lower and it is desalination plants are not prone to water evaporation as it is in the case of dams and reservoirs.
California Environmental Protection Agency. Desalination Facilities And Brine Disposal. 2014. Web. 27 May. 2015. < http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/water_issues/programs/ocean/desalination/>
Dolnicar, Sara, Anna Hurlimann, and Bettina Grün. “What Affects Public Acceptance of Recycled and Desalinated Water?” Water Research 45.2 (2011): 933–943. PMC. Web. 11 June 2015.
Hanak, Ellen and Antonina Simeti. Water Supply and Growth in California: A Survey of City and County Land-Use Planners . 2004. Web. 13 June 2015. <http://www.ppic.org/main/publication.asp?i=506>.
Hartley, Troy. “Public percpetion and participation in water reuse.” Desalination,
Koundouri, Peter. Water Management in Arid and Semi-arid Regions: Interdisciplinary Perspectives, Cheltenham. Edward Elgar Publishing, 2006. Print.
Lud, Jay, Ali Taghavi and Maurice Hall. Integrating Storage in California’s Changing Water System. 2014. Web. 27 May. 2015, https://watershed.ucdavis.edu/files/biblio/Storage_White_Paper_20Nov2014.pdf
United Nations. Water Facts and figures. 2013. Web. 27 May. 2015, http://www.unwater.org/water-cooperation-2013/water-cooperation/facts-and-figures/en/
U.S Climate Data. Climate California – Sacramento. 2015. Web. 27 May. 2015, <http://www.usclimatedata.com/climate/california/united-states/3174>
Water Use Association. Seawater Desalination Power Consumption. Nov. 2011. Web. 27 May. 2015. <https://www.watereuse.org/sites/default/files/u8/Power_consumption_white_paper.pdf>
Sydney Catchment Authority 2007.Web 27 May.2015