Amidst Drought, Solar Desalination Allows California Water District To Gain New Access to Fresh Water

waterfxaqua4
A solar desalination facility was recently implemented in California to remedy drainage issues.

California’s Panoche Water District has implemented a solar desalination facility in response to the need for cost-effective solutions that would ensure the availability of sustainable water in the vital agricultural region.

The facility, located in Firebaugh, Calif., utilizes renewable desalination technology from WaterFX.

The water district is deploying WaterFX Aqua4 technology as a remedy for drainage issues that have reached critical levels for the region’s agricultural industry. Irrigated water in the Central Valley contains elevated levels of salinity ranging from 15,000 to more than 40,000 ppm in many regions (greater than the salt content of seawater).

Meanwhile, drought conditions throughout the state have limited access to contracted water delivered from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation through the Central Valley Project, resulting in water districts receiving only a portion of their allotted water contracts. This year, the projected allocation is expected to fall to zero.

Sustainable water reuse through solar desalination can provide a scalable, alternative source of water unencumbered by the low reliability of imported water and high-energy costs.

After six months in operation, the 6,500-square-foot, solar-powered test facility has produced up to 8 gallons per minute of pure water from saline discharge drainage, and will be expanded to produce 2,200 acre-feet per year.

“We are very encouraged by the results so far and are looking forward to increasing the capacity to provide a treatment solution for larger volumes of drainage water,” says Dennis Falaschi, Panoche Water and Drainage District manager. “Farmers, in partnership with federal agencies, have invested in a solution that may soon solve drainage issues across all of California’s west side.”

The Panoche Water District and Drainage District serves more than 44,000 acres of the Central Valley in and around Firebaugh, Calif., including farmlands growing almonds, tomatoes, melons, asparagus, pistachios and alfalfa. The salinity of drainage water collected through intricate tile systems placed below irrigated crops and pumped to drainage canals necessitates designated reuse acreage that the Panoche District uses for recycling drainage water, growing salt tolerant crops and now employing water treatment technology.

“Panoche is a very forward-thinking water district to begin exploring sustainable, alternative water reuse options and it will greatly benefit local farms,” says Aaron Mandell, WaterFX chairman and founder. “This project represents a dramatic shift in how we use and reuse water in scarce regions like California. Our long term goal is to chart a new course towards water independence and reduce the need to import water from finite natural sources; this will pave the way towards economic growth dependent on water reliability.”

The WaterFX Aqua4 system differs from traditional seawater desalination, which is performed by an electricity intensive reverse-osmosis process that forces salt and other solids through a membrane at high pressure. WaterFX’s Aqua4 system reclaims water using a Concentrated Solar Still (CSS), a new device with advanced solar absorption technology, requiring minimal electricity and fuel input and producing more than 200 acre-feet of freshwater per acre of solar collection area.

Aqua4 consists of a solar thermal collector, an absorption heat pump, a multi-stage distillation system and a thermal storage unit to store solar heat and ensure 24-hour-per-day operation. The system is designed to deliver maximum value from renewable energy inputs and features a modular and moveable design, a compact footprint and the ability to easily scale up or down. High-efficiency thermal evaporation makes the system robust and able to achieve high recovery from a variety of water streams including drainage water, wastewater, produced water and seawater. The Aqua4 system will also reclaim extracted metals and salts, removing them from the water system entirely and eliminating brine discharge.

 

Leave a Reply

More From Uncategorized...

July 30, 2015

Let’s Talk About Starflowers. Why Is Pentas Not More Popular?

It is good to talk about production techniques, performance results and then to see how our friends garden. Diversity of plant material has always been a strength in American garden centers, and we should never run out of plants to get people excited. However, perhaps people are tired of Petunias or Callas or Geraniums, but we will never run out of options to put in front of them. One plant that is often overlooked is Pentas, a fabulous summer crop for late spring sales. These are heat-tolerant plants, and growing them below 65°F in the greenhouse results in significant delay. Fertility should be at least 150ppm nitrogen, but avoid ammonia in the fertilizer. Plants are best grown at a somewhat higher pH than usual, between 6.4 to 6.8. For best presentation, pinch out the center bud. Side flowers will bloom together, and plants will walk off the shelf. Garden centers […]

Read More

July 30, 2015

Spread Your Risk Beyond Spring Sales [Opinion]

Growers who participated in Greenhouse Grower’s 2015 Spring Crops Recap Survey said they have had enough of the uncertainty that the weather brings. They said it’s time to build up sales in other seasons like fall so we’re not so dependent on spring. As a couple of wholesale growers, both from the Southeast, very eloquently stated, our industry has mastered squeezing everything we can out of the spring season. And while this year happened to be a very successful one, thanks to the improving economy and elevated consumer confidence, they said, “now is no time to celebrate.” “Spring is still Christmas in the horticulture industry, but we have done such a good job focusing on spring that we have neglected other seasons,” one grower said. “Having so many eggs in the spring basket is dangerous. Fall will never be what spring is, but having a solid second season is in […]

Read More
Mike McGroarty, owner of Mike’s Backyard Nursery

July 29, 2015

Backyard Success: Mike McGroarty Educates Aspiring Growers

Mike’s Backyard Nursery sits on a long, narrow, 5-acre property located in Perry, Ohio. There, customers can find a variety of flowering shrubs available, all in 2-quart pots, and all for sale for $5.97 each. Owner Mike McGroarty, a lifelong resident of Perry, says the town has a lot of plant nurseries, including 100 wholesale growers within a 10-mile radius of his house. That doesn’t discourage McGroarty, because he knows that while there are a lot of nurseries in his area, no one else is doing what he is doing. McGroarty has learned about plants — and marketing them to his audience — through decades of experience. He has never hesitated to pass along his knowledge to other growers looking to start their own backyard operations, and has created an entire program to educate aspiring growers. McGroarty Likes To Practice What He Preaches McGroarty’s operation serves as the laboratory for […]

Read More
Latest Stories

June 25, 2015

Berger And Theriault & Hachey Peat Moss Form Strate…

A strategic alliance between Berger and Theriault & Hachey Peat Moss allows Berger to continue to meet its customers by ensuring the continuity of its Baie-Sainte-Anne and Bay du Vin facilities for the next 40 years.

Read More
2015 Top 100 Growers 75

May 1, 2015

2015 Top 100 Growers: Harts Nursery (No. 75)

Learn more about Harts Nursery, No. 75 on Greenhouse Grower's 2015 Top Growers list.

Read More
2015 Top 100 Growers 71

May 1, 2015

2015 Top 100 Growers: Van de Wetering Greenhouses (No. …

Learn more about Van de Wetering Greenhouses, No. 71 on Greenhouse Grower's 2015 Top Growers list.

Read More
2015 Top 100 Growers 71

May 1, 2015

2015 Top 100 Growers: Welby Gardens Co./Hardy Boy Plant…

Learn more about Welby Gardens Co./Hardy Boy Plants-Hardystarts, No. 71 on Greenhouse Grower's 2015 Top Growers list.

Read More
2015 Top 100 Growers 65

May 1, 2015

2015 Top 100 Growers: Corso’s Perennials (No. 65)

Learn more about Corso's Perennials, No. 65 on Greenhouse Grower's 2015 Top Growers list.

Read More
2015 Top 100 Growers 64

May 1, 2015

2015 Top 100 Growers: Bob’s Market And Greenhouse…

Learn more about Bob's Market And Greenhouses, No. 64 on Greenhouse Grower's 2015 Top Growers list.

Read More
2015 Top 100 Growers 61

May 1, 2015

2015 Top 100 Growers: Armstrong Growers (No. 61)

Learn more about Armstrong Growers, No. 61 on Greenhouse Grower's 2015 Top Growers list.

Read More
2015 Top 100 Growers 59

May 1, 2015

2015 Top 100 Growers: Nash Greenhouses (No. 59)

Learn more about Nash Greenhouses, No. 59 on Greenhouse Grower's 2015 Top Growers list.

Read More

May 1, 2015

2015 Top 100 Growers: Willoway Nurseries (No. 53)

Learn more about Willoway Nurseries, No. 53 on Greenhouse Grower's 2015 Top Growers list.

Read More
2015 Top 100 Growers 51b

May 1, 2015

2015 Top 100 Growers: Henry Mast Greenhouses/Masterpiec…

Learn more about Henry Mast Greenhouses/Masterpiece Flower Co., No. 51 on Greenhouse Grower's 2015 Top Growers list.

Read More
2015 Top 100 Growers 51a

May 1, 2015

2015 Top 100 Growers: Rockwell Farms (No. 51)

Learn more about Rockwell Farms, No. 51 on Greenhouse Grower's 2015 Top Growers list.

Read More
Top 100 Growers No. 8

April 13, 2015

2015 Top 100 Growers: Color Point (No. 8)

Learn more about Color Point, No. 8 on Greenhouse Grower's 2015 Top 100 Growers List.

Read More

March 31, 2015

Manufacturers Are Taking Biologicals To The Next Level

Through acquisitions and new products, many crop protection companies are making firm commitments to the future of the biocontrols industry.

Read More
Aquaponics At Brogue Hydroponics

March 30, 2015

Aquaponics Is Making A Splash At Brogue Hydroponics

The owners of Brogue Hydroponics explain why they expanded into aquaponics, and how the shift has helped them uncover a new market opportunity.

Read More

February 11, 2015

Benchmarks: Find Your Game-Changer

Refuse to accept the status quo in your organization. Explore possibilities until you find what works best for your company.

Read More
Lychnis 'Petitie Jenny'

February 2, 2015

Variety Showcase: A Dainty Debutante

Lychnis flos-cuculi ‘Petite Jenny’ is a dwarf form of the popular Blooms of Bressingham® variety Lychnis ‘Jenny.’ This double-flowered little beauty was discovered by Paul Gooderham at Bressingham in a patch of its parent, ‘Jenny.’ ‘Petite Jenny’ produces masses of large, fluffy, double flowers like ‘Jenny,’ but with a more diminutive habit. The species goes by the common name “ragged robin,” but there’s nothing unkempt about ‘Petite Jenny’. An easy-to-grow, tidy little plant, it is suitable for any sunny or lightly shaded border and is also a good container candidate. Garden Performance Mass of bright pink double blooms beginning in mid-May. Sterile blooms provide a longer flowering period Erect, leafy flowering stems Forms compact, bushy clumps just 14” tall with an 18” spread Attracts bees, butterflies, hummingbirds and is deer-resistant Ideal for containers, front of borders, informal cottage gardens and as cut flowers’ Sun or part shade USDA Hardiness Zones 5 to […]

Read More

January 20, 2015

Register Now For Biocontrols 2015 Conference & Trad…

The first-ever conference, sponsored by Meister Media Worldwide and the Biopesticide Industry Alliance, March 3-5, offers hands-on, real-world technical advice on biocontrols to help you craft a “softer” pest management program focused on resistance management, MRLs and results.

Read More

October 6, 2014

Fighting Fall Foliar Disease: The Best Defense Is A Goo…

Managing foliar diseases starts with evaluating the greenhouse environment. Virginia Brubaker, GGS Pro Technical support supervisor for Griffin Greenhouse Supplies, shares some ways you can defend against fall foliar diseases.

Read More