Innovative Ways to Deal with California’s Drought


Fiddling While California Burns

The first thing that comes to mind is that California needs to stop wasting $64 billion on a really, really fast train. The entire state is circling the bowl for the last time, almost every business and individual has been hit, and the powers that be are trying grease palms or deliver political paybacks via high speed rails. Given the propensity of the state to go up in smoke when the vegetation gets dry it is almost literally fiddling while that state burns. They are earnestly rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.


Saltwater pipeline

If you must waste $64 billion why not do it in a way that provides much needed water? How about a salt water pipeline that brings ocean water to Death Valley for instance. There is an idea called the “saltwater greenhouse” wherein sea water is sent to the desert and its evaporation is used to create fresh water.

Another name for this process is “seawater green house”. There is even a company that goes by that name that offers seawater and sunlight solutions to energy, water and food problems.

Make the desert green and all your problems are solved.

If the pumps for the water use solar energy then the project could be energy neutral. There are various technologies that can be used the help the saltwater pumps along such as thermosiphoning, which is a way of using heat and convection to move water. Also, if the location that the water is going to is below sea level then this will help because the water will be moving downhill. Given that we can always use more jobs it surely wouldn’t hurt to make the project labor intensive. Salt loving crops could also be grown under these conditions. It is time to take advantage of the fact that much of California is essentially desert.

If nothing else rich Californians need to get busy impressing us all with their wealth. They need to prove that they are so rich they don’t need to drink fresh water. They and their estates can subsist entirely off of saltwater. Think of it as a giant demonstration project. Either truck in or pipe in saltwater from the ocean and desalinate it on the spot. Then use the purified water for drinking and also water your acres of grass. This will show solidarity with the working classes as you ease their water burdens and anything you can do to demonstrate proof of principles in water purification, desalination and how to get rid of all that darn salt, would be a boon to everyone. Think of it as “giving back”. By the way, this means you Al Gore so pay attention to this “inconvenient truth”.


Training the rain

I have argued elsewhere that California needs more water much more than it needs a $64 billion boondoggle called high speed rail. But what if I am wrong? Not about the idiocy of high speed trains during the drought of the millennium. But rather, what if rail was the answer? Some have suggested that water be shipped by rail from places in the east that have plenty of water to California. After all oil and chlorine can be shipped by rail so we know that under certain circumstances it can be cost effective to send liquids by train.

I have seen one estimate that for as little as $40 million some of California’s smaller communities could get help with their water supply. This help would come by rail. The forty million dollars would be used to make improvements to the railroad system and the cost to the water consumers would be pennies per gallon. Compare that to the $64 billion boondoggle to move foreign criminals (illegal aliens and undocumented democrats) from one end of the state to other.


Digging a well in the sky

One rather interesting way of getting fresh water is sometimes called an air well. The idea is to use the atmosphere as you would a ground water well. Wring fresh water from the skies! Once people got the idea there were a lot of creative names. Dew ponds and fog fences to name a few.

There are several ways to encourage water vapor to condense in useful quantities. The shapes of buildings and the materials they are made of can help. Where shade and sun are allowed on a property can help. Caves and caverns can be useful. Even polluted and salty water can help since they can increase the amount of water vapor available for condensation. Naturally any refrigeration or air conditioning that is used can help condense the water out of the air as well.

For a natural air well the point is to make it “rain” where you want it to. That is to say to make the local dew point, the point at which the air becomes so saturated with water that it cannot hold more, appear on some useful surface. One way to do this is to create a massive structure with lots of surface area. But the problem with massive structures is that they take a long time to cool and you need that cooling to get to the dew point. Less massive structures can cool by radiating heat. If you add things like shading and proper airflow you can get a lot of natural water from the air.

Given the amount of water needed to satisfy human needs, often electricity is used to help matters along. Solar energy is a good way to make the process more carbon neutral.

There are any number of ways to use water vapor for human needs. There are even dew or air drop irrigation systems that can be used to water crops.

There are devices called atmospheric water generators or atmosphere water collectors that can be used to generate potable water in harsh climates. Some of these devices are powered by solar energy.

Some areas of the earth, often those near the sea, are infamous for fog. There is a technology variously called cloud stripping or fog harvesting. Basically you put up a fog fence and promote water droplets and you catch the drops, run them through pipes and store the water.

It does not appear that drawing water from the air can be used for large scale projects. At least I could not find any literature that said for instance that some country was tossing out its current water system and putting in air wells. It is not hard to find countries, corporations and companies that are going hard at desalination, purification and filtration.


Air Drip Irrigation

Solar Distillation

Seawater Greenhouse

Harvesting Fresh Water from Fog

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Comments 35 comments

Akriti Mattu profile image

Akriti Mattu 19 months ago from Shimla, India

Very informative post.

poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 19 months ago Author

Hello Akriti. Thanks for dropping by. Have a blessed day!

FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 19 months ago from USA

So much water is being used for irrigation, not just in California but elsewhere around the world. Opportunities exist for recycling urban wastewater (as nasty as that sounds) and in stabilizing the population so as to decrease demand.

poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 19 months ago Author

FlourishAnyway certainly we have to recycle the waste water. That is mandatory.

It turns out we can get all the water we would ever need from the ocean via saltwater greenhouses or seawater greenhouses. We would get pollution free water, food and energy. If we spent money on this notion we could solve all our problems at once.

As for controlling population, wealthy nations and rich people have no problem doing this on their own. But for the poor, often their only wealth is their children. I don't know that an ethical way to reduce the population of the poor has yet been found. The only way I know of that does not involve force, trickery, or bribing them is to educate all the world's women and girls on many subjects--especially birth control. A wise and compassionate mother surely would limit the number of children she has if she could. This would ensure that the children she has would have a better chance in life.

CorneliaMladenova profile image

CorneliaMladenova 19 months ago from Cork, Ireland

Very useful hub. We have no problem with water in Ireland, and here it is wasted because it is too much, but in my native country Bulgaria there are great problems with drought. I think my compatriots should really read this hub and take everything into consideration :)

poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 19 months ago Author

Korneliya Yonkova (CorneliaMladenova) that must have been a big cultural change from Bulgaria to Ireland. Different languages and expectations, etc.

I had thought that one day mankind would wage wars over water. I now see it would actually be pretty easy to avoid that. Due to the notion of seawater greenhouses or saltwater greenhouses, every nation that is not landlocked can have all the water it could possibly need from something that works a little like a solar still.

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 19 months ago from England

Hi, I have been watching TV concerning California and the drought, and you have some great ideas, we never have this problem over here in England, mind you most people believe England has a lot of rain, which isn't true, where I live down South we only have around 600 mls a year! so we could very well have a drought!

poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 19 months ago Author

Nell there is going to be a drought all over the world. Luckily the ocean is nearby by and just being a little cleverness we can use the sun and the seawater and get all the fresh water we need.

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 19 months ago from Houston, Texas

What an informative hub! Between what you wrote and watching the videos you included, it would seem that there are certainly viable answers to the drought dilemma. It was reported on our news that certain areas in California are asking residents to let their lawns die. They also suspect that the fires this year will be horrendous. Time, effort and money must be invested in solving the problem of not having enough fresh water for people, animals and crops. Up votes and definitely sharing, tweeting and pinning.

poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 19 months ago Author

Thank you very much for getting the word out Peggy. I am motivated since I am moving to California soon. Like every problem it could have been solved a lot more cheaply long ago but we almost always wait so that we can solve it in the most expensive way possible right now.

Have a blessed day!

sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 19 months ago from Southern Oklahoma

You have some very interesting information here. The water situation in California will be like almost everything else. No one is going to make a huge profit from it, so it will wait until there is a real crisis before anything is done about it.

Thelma Alberts profile image

Thelma Alberts 19 months ago from Germany

Very informative and interesting hub. I have not experienced drought here in Germany. Germans have their own modern innovative way of dealing with water scarcity. Voted up! Thanks for sharing this hub.

poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 19 months ago Author

Sheila, I fear you are right. Until some palm gets greased somewhere or until matters get worse, there may be little in the way of useful change. There are supposedly still companies like Nestle and Walmart bottling and selling the water out of state.

poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 19 months ago Author

Thanks for the thumbs up Thelma. How do Germans deal with water scarcity?

The embarrassing thing about California is that it has all the water it needs just off the coast. There is even an environmentally friendly way to get it and desalinate it called a saltwater greenhouse.

Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 19 months ago from southern USA

I wish we could send California some of the rain we've been getting here in southern USA. It has rained and rained and rained for months it seems. Finally, the sun is shining and everything is so lush and green.

The US Navy has used desalination of sea water on submarines and such for years so that they can drink the water. I don't see why they can't do the same but on a larger scale in California.

Interesting hub

radhikasree profile image

radhikasree 19 months ago from Mumbai,India

Great resources selected for research.

poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 19 months ago Author

Hello Faith Reaper. We have had several storm and flash flood warnings here is Texas. So it appears the Texas drought may have abated a bit. The more I look into methods to clean up water the more certain I am that they are not yet serious about fixing the problem in California.

poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 19 months ago Author

Thanks for dropping by Radhika Sreekanth (radhikasree). Have yourself a blessed day.

Suzanne Day profile image

Suzanne Day 19 months ago from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

When will governments wake up and smell the coffee in regards to all the things they don't "get"? Great solutions here and it seems like every policy is aimed at "rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic", you really should get voted in yourself! Meritocracy is the way to go forward for this planet, voted useful ;)

poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 19 months ago Author

Thanks for the thumbs up Suzanne. I guess the real problem is that the powers that be value something other than what we value. They seem to have more invested in the problems than the solutions.

Have a blessed day!

sheilamarie78 profile image

sheilamarie78 18 months ago

Water certainly is a problem for California and will continue to become even more so in the future. I agree that finding solutions to the water shortage should be the focus. Thumbs up.

poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 18 months ago Author

Thanks for dropping by Sheila Marie. Let us hope that the politicians will make a mistake and solve a problem instead of causing them just this once.

Be blessed!

rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 18 months ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

These sound like interesting ways for California to deal with the drought. It's hard to imagine having to limit water. We get so much rain here...I wish I could send them some!

cam8510 profile image

cam8510 18 months ago from Columbus, Georgia until the end of November 2016.

Interesting ideas. Regarding sending water from the east to the west, there would be quite a fight by the Great Lakes States on this point. In fact this has already been proposed and defeated. I think desalination has got to be perfected eventually. Great information in this hub. Thanks.

poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 18 months ago Author

Rebecca, at present I am living in northern Dallas and in the past couple of weeks we have seen some flood warnings in the area. It would be nice to send the extra water to California.

Have a blessed day!

poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 18 months ago Author

Chris, I think some form of desalination will be the eventual answer. If they use solar energy then that will take care of where they get the energy from. At that point they just need to figure out what to do with the salt that gets produced.

Be blessed!

anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 18 months ago

I live in California and the drought situation is grave. We can't water the plants but 2 days a week and of late, we're told we've to let our lawn go as well. You've offered many innovative ways to solve the problem. Thanks for sharing.

poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 18 months ago Author

anglnwu, I have just moved back to California from flooded Texas! One of the first things that hit me is that no one in the place I am staying seems to take the drought all that seriously. I don't want to rat anyone out but the way they behave you'd think there was no problem. I could probably even get my car washed. In my view you will know when they really get serious when people begin to look at you funny for washing your car.

Kristen Howe profile image

Kristen Howe 18 months ago from Northeast Ohio

Great ideas on how to solve the drought problem in California, if only the local politicians would take care of that issue at heart. It's up to the residents to deal with it, when the local politicians don't bother. Voted up for interesting!

poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 18 months ago Author

Kristen, I guess the good news is that I am seeing more and more people agree with recycling gray water. I am not sure that politicians have any interest in solving anything. The state seems to propose water restrictions which will not actually solve anything. One of the reasons I am interested in various desalination strategies is that they will result in more water which will solve the water shortage.

Kristen Howe profile image

Kristen Howe 18 months ago from Northeast Ohio

Poetryman, that is good news. I agree with you. I hope recycling gray water works to help with the drought. You're such a good environmentalist, my friend.

pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 18 months ago from sunny Florida

Sounds like some of these may be a way to help with water issues that exist not just in CA.

Interesting and informative.

Angels are on the way to you this afternoon. ps

poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 18 months ago Author

Thanks for dropping by Patricia. I heard on the radio the other day that the governor of the state was bragging about not taking a shower. I don't think he understands how end a drought.

ChitrangadaSharan profile image

ChitrangadaSharan 17 months ago from New Delhi, India

Very important and informative hub!

The dangers of drought can be seen in many parts of the World. These are some very useful ways to deal with drought.

I have heard about the situation in California through my relatives staying over there.

Thanks for sharing these helpful and innovative ways to deal with drought. Voted up and shared!

poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 17 months ago Author

Thanks for dropping by Chitrangada Sharan. There is talk that maybe the weather pattern folks call El Nino could bring us rain in the fall. This might be bad news in the long run since it will give the politicians who did nothing to prevent the worst effects of the drought to do more nothing about a future drought.

Have a blessed day!

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