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Build desalination plants

Posted: February 25, 2009 8:17 p.m.
Updated: February 26, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
The Central Valley in California grows most of the country’s fruits and vegetables in normal times, but it is currently in a severe drought and farmers are abandoning their farms. Farmers in Fresno County will only plant half the acreage of lettuce grown in 2005.

A permanent partial solution to the lack of irrigable water might be the construction of large-scale desalination plants along the California coastline.

The desalinated water could supply the fresh water needs of heavily populated urban and some suburban areas, and free up sources of surface water and groundwater for irrigating farmland. It might be possible to transport some of the desalinated water via pipelines to farming regions.

The desalination technology is proven and is extensively employed in the Middle East. In this country, Tampa, Fla. produces 10 percent of its fresh-water requirements from a desalination plant. Some states in the south might want to evaluate the construction of desalination plants to help alleviate their drought conditions.

The power for the desalination plants could possibly be generated by on-site wind turbines if the plants are located in windy areas.

As an added benefit, maybe we could put to good use the projected rise in ocean waters caused by global warming of the ice caps.

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