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is california really running out of water?

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Old 03-15-15, 12:51 PM   #1
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Question is california really running out of water?

The LA Times has a dramatic article on the state of water in the state of California.

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed...313-story.html

famers in the central valleys have been drilling wells at a furious pace to get water for their crops (many forget what a giant part of the state's economy agriculture plays) and that water pumping has drained a LOT of water out of water reserves. i'm no expert on this but it does seem pretty serious.

i thought california was going to be implementing a lot of desalination plants... did that happen?

either way, are any of you living out there concerned by this?
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Old 03-15-15, 02:05 PM   #2
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Very concerned about the general state of California's water resources. Our agricultural economy uses a majority of our water and they have been taking ground water at an unprecedented level. I read somewhere that the entire central valley is sinking a few inches per year because of this.

For those people who dont know, California relies on our snowpack in the sierra mountains to deliver us clean and fresh water year round as it melts in the summer. We have had very weak snow in the past three years, as well as rain. This year, we have not had steady rain, but instead torrential downpours which have allowed us to hit the average rain for our state. However, this has caused so much flooding as most of it just runs off into the Ocean. Also rain is not as important to us as snow. When I went snowboarding this year, it was all dry, no snow in sight except for at the ski resorts which now make their own snow.

I now keep buckets around the house in the kitchen and in each bathroom. I live in a three story home and it takes a while for the hot water to reach the third floor. We have the buckets to catch the water until there is hot water and then use the water to flush the toilets. The bucket in the kitchen is used to catch dishwater as well as old drinking water from the kettle. Water is very difficult to save since it requires a complete change in our lifestyle. It isn't like saving electricity where you can simply change to an LED lightbulb and not change your habits. I am also no longer washing my cars. I used to wash them every weekend, but I haven't touched the hose since last July. It bothers me so much when I see people around the neighborhood washing their cars. If you are taking longer than 10 minute showers, you need to wake up. But what irks me the most are those people who have the faucet on while you brushing teeth, just letting it all go down the drain for no reason.

I hear people are going to extreme lengths to save water in the more rural parts of the state. People in big cities can't seem to change their habits as quickly because they dont see how extreme the issue is. Im looking at your, Southern California!

I dont want to turn this into a climate change debate but there is no question that the weather around the world is changing on us. Stronger storms in the east coast, drought in the west coast. The reality is that our climate is changing at a faster pace than humans can change our infrastructure. Of course there are so many politics behind it all but we need to stop arguing and realize we need to act quickly.

I encourage you to look at these before and after pictures
http://www.buzzfeed.com/alexnaidus/c...ges#.wy004Exrv


Oh and to answer your question, desalination plants are extremely expensive and almost impractical to implement. I know in SoCal, one is opening later this year but other than that, I dont know of any other that exists.

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Old 03-15-15, 02:56 PM   #3
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great post, thanks.

about the hot water wait, there's an easy solution to that.
https://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm...mand_hot_water
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Old 03-15-15, 03:00 PM   #4
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about people not changing their habits in cities, i'm sure raising water usage taxation will at some point curb people's habits. also, the agriculture situation is pretty absurd. california is mostly 'desert' naturally, and a lot of those crops should not be grown there. i think it's time for that industry to shrink. while it might make some farmers do ok or even get rich, overall it only provides very low wage employment. as far as the food supply, let's just use wetter areas like the state of washington to the north!

about the 'man-made snow' on the ski slopes, of course that takes water too.
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Old 03-15-15, 03:01 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bitkahuna View Post
i thought california was going to be implementing a lot of desalination plants... did that happen?

either way, are any of you living out there concerned by this?
not with the environazis there. Funny how a state next to an ocean has a water shortage. They also didnt want to stockpile their reservoirs to protect some stupid animal too
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Old 03-15-15, 03:27 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bitkahuna View Post
about people not changing their habits in cities, i'm sure raising water usage taxation will at some point curb people's habits. also, the agriculture situation is pretty absurd. california is mostly 'desert' naturally, and a lot of those crops should not be grown there. i think it's time for that industry to shrink. while it might make some farmers do ok or even get rich, overall it only provides very low wage employment. as far as the food supply, let's just use wetter areas like the state of washington to the north!

about the 'man-made snow' on the ski slopes, of course that takes water too.
Yes I agree that we need to raise the water rates. The sewer waste rate is higher than the water rate! The sad part is that people are selfish and won't curb their water usage unless it directly affects their water bill.

I dont believe any other State has as large an agricultural economy as California. I am sure we that industry were to shrink, it will affect the rest of the country. Also, we have a lot of immigrants who depend heavily on the farms for work.

I think we need to create a pipe from the north west and buy all the rain water they get up there.
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Old 03-15-15, 03:29 PM   #7
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great post, thanks.

about the hot water wait, there's an easy solution to that.
https://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm...mand_hot_water
Yeah, if I every need to rebuild my entire home than that is an option. I have also looking into installing on tankless hot water heaters not just as the main water heater but also small ones behind each bathroom. However, the technology needs to improve greatly before the instant water heaters can meet the demand of an entire home
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Old 03-15-15, 03:59 PM   #8
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We could use some more Desalination Plants but we're poor. Hopefully CA will break away from the Union soon and we can go join Hawaii, and Alaska can come too
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Old 03-15-15, 05:42 PM   #9
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We could use some more Desalination Plants but we're poor. Hopefully CA will break away from the Union soon and we can go join Hawaii, and Alaska can come too
I have people interested in investing in desalination projects but you guys wouldn't (or probably already do) believe how hard it is to get these projects off the ground. Investors will need to put in huge amounts of capital for 10-15 years before starting to see any returns.

Environmentalists and CA's horrible regulatory system keeps anything nice from ever happening.

There are 2 or three desalination projects in SoCal, one should be coming online this year but that project in San Diego raises water rates by multiples.
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Old 03-15-15, 06:00 PM   #10
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Yeah, if I every need to rebuild my entire home than that is an option.
That's the whole point--you don't have to rebuild anything. Just buy the kit and hire a plumber for about 30 minutes. The whole thing works on your existing plumbing layout, using the concepts of differential pressure.

A pump gets installed to the output pipe from your water heater--it needs to be sweated on, so this is the part you need the plumber for. Then a sensor/valve gets installed between the hot and cold water lines at the sink farthest from the water heater. When the temperature at the sensor drops below a specified value, the pump turns on and increases pressure in the hot water line, causing water to flow from it through the one-way valve into the cold water line, until the temperature reaches the appropriate level, then the pump turns off. Your hot water line is now constantly replenished directly from the heater, and you don't have to run faucets waiting for it to warm up.
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Old 03-15-15, 06:11 PM   #11
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That's the whole point--you don't have to rebuild anything. Just buy the kit and hire a plumber for about 30 minutes. The whole thing works on your existing plumbing layout, using the concepts of differential pressure.

A pump gets installed to the output pipe from your water heater--it needs to be sweated on, so this is the part you need the plumber for. Then a sensor/valve gets installed between the hot and cold water lines at the sink farthest from the water heater. When the temperature at the sensor drops below a specified value, the pump turns on and increases pressure in the hot water line, causing water to flow from it through the one-way valve into the cold water line, until the temperature reaches the appropriate level, then the pump turns off. Your hot water line is now constantly replenished directly from the heater, and you don't have to run faucets waiting for it to warm up.
Interesting. I was under the impression that I had to connect the farthest faucet back to the water heater, which would be near impossible in a three story home. What you are suggesting is pumping the now cold water from the hot water line into the cold water line?
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Old 03-15-15, 06:51 PM   #12
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Has been pretty bad for a spell. Many CA people do not conserve, I can pick any one of my neighbors that water mid-day, wash driveway down, etc. Fines in some cities can be $300+ if cited. Of course some will water when the city employees are not working and this isn't the police dept's job. (I didn't rat out my neighbors to find out either. I had been talking with the code enforcement agent about other city code violations.)

The city also took themselves as an example to cut back watering to conserve. That netted them a yellow amber landscaped city hall that we griped how ugly and a complete landscaping expense. In the same token if the resident does this we'll receive a hang tag stating we are not maintaining the house landscaping, I received one to know. The city just passed a measure that approved an annual increase in water and sewer rates for the next 10 years. By the end the rates will have doubled.

The on-demand hot water had had appeal when the hot water heater was leaking and in need of replacement. One of the neighbors has one and we've used them while in Japan to find how quick and hot these systems are. My issue is the cost and that I may not see the longevity like a traditional hot water heater. We have a single story so hot water does not take long to reach the back part of the house fortunately. It is still wasteful but not like the neighbors who have 2 story or mega sized homes.

I've implemented what is workable for us and can only hope that others will realize and do similar. One of the workers who came out to fix the water meter told us that until the cost of water goes up significantly most residents won't think of changing.
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Old 03-15-15, 06:58 PM   #13
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Yeah, if I every need to rebuild my entire home than that is an option.
as geko said, it's not that bad at all.

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I have also looking into installing on tankless hot water heaters not just as the main water heater but also small ones behind each bathroom. However, the technology needs to improve greatly before the instant water heaters can meet the demand of an entire home
also not true. i have two tankless (gas) hot water heaters by noritz. the main one could have (easily) done the whole house but the run from that one at one end of the house (garage) to the master bedroom (at the other end) is very long so i put the smallest one they made at the time outside the master bedroom. the main one can heat over 12 gallons a minute as scorching hot, so WAY more than i'd need even if all showers running, dishwasher, faucets, laundry, etc. the amount of gas these use is negligible - really impressive!
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Old 03-15-15, 07:34 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by geko29 View Post
That's the whole point--you don't have to rebuild anything. Just buy the kit and hire a plumber for about 30 minutes. The whole thing works on your existing plumbing layout, using the concepts of differential pressure.

A pump gets installed to the output pipe from your water heater--it needs to be sweated on, so this is the part you need the plumber for. Then a sensor/valve gets installed between the hot and cold water lines at the sink farthest from the water heater. When the temperature at the sensor drops below a specified value, the pump turns on and increases pressure in the hot water line, causing water to flow from it through the one-way valve into the cold water line, until the temperature reaches the appropriate level, then the pump turns off. Your hot water line is now constantly replenished directly from the heater, and you don't have to run faucets waiting for it to warm up.
I did it myself when I put in the new water heater. Pretty easy and works reasonably well. Not perfect, but a dramatic improvement. I also insulated the copper pipes I could access between the hot water heater and the kitchen/laundry room where the bulk of hot water usage occurs.

I saw this coming a very long time ago and planned my exit from California knowing this shortage was well overdue. The water table in the central valley used to be around 35 feet. It is now well over 100 feet and dropping like a rock from overuse/under replenishment. Imagine my dismay when I leave dry Sacramento in 2007 only to come to Georgia in the middle of one of the worst droughts they've ever experienced. At least the rains came and rehydrated us. California needs a couple of winters like the '81 to '85 winters. Stupid amounts of rain - 300% of normal. PG&E actually lowered electric rates because their hydro power was so plentiful.

But California's issues are nothing.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/17/wo...isis.html?_r=0

Heck, just type Sao Paulo into Google and look at what pops for suggestions...
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Old 03-15-15, 08:11 PM   #15
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as geko said, it's not that bad at all.



also not true. i have two tankless (gas) hot water heaters by noritz. the main one could have (easily) done the whole house but the run from that one at one end of the house (garage) to the master bedroom (at the other end) is very long so i put the smallest one they made at the time outside the master bedroom. the main one can heat over 12 gallons a minute as scorching hot, so WAY more than i'd need even if all showers running, dishwasher, faucets, laundry, etc. the amount of gas these use is negligible - really impressive!
I forgot to mention that my water heater is electric. I only have a gas pipe leading to my stove and nothing else, because when I bought my home gas was not connected to the house at all. I have researched tankless electric water heaters and they can barely keep up with a single shower going on. Keep in mind I dont live in the suburbs. We are talking about a three story home with two sides shared with the neighbors. I can't simply run pipes as I see fit without truly opening up the walls and ceilings.

I replaced my Rheem water heater about 7 years ago, and I am pretty sure I will try one of their heat pump electric heaters next. Of course this doesn't actually change my water consumption, just energy.
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