View Mobile Site

Ask the Expert

Signal Photos


Let’s use our solar energy for our water

Posted: July 22, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: July 22, 2014 2:00 a.m.

It seems incomprehensible that with the great shortage of water for this state, trillions of gallons of water lie off the cost and remains unused by those affected most.

Yes, of course the water is saline and requires treatment before it can be used for crops and general use.

California is blessed or cursed with sunshine in abundance. We have the technology to convert that sunshine to power.

Solar energy can be used for desalination without pollution or expense beyond the equipment to conduct this enterprise.

The cost would increase the state revenue in taxes by assessing farmers who produce their crops for market. The process is one that can be sold to other states in great need of water.

I think of any and all states bordered by salt water and suffering drought. The benefits far outweigh the cost.

An almost unlimited product and power source demand attention.

Even the salt by-product can be sold to geographically close states that suffer the winters with ice and excess snow.



lars1: Posted: July 22, 2014 11:02 a.m.

Thank you. I have said the same idea in response to the $30 Billion Bay Delta Conservation Plan. The Bay Delta Conservation Plan entails construction of two, 30-mile underground tunnels for water to be transported southward, rather than sent through the Delta.


All the lakes and reservoirs in California and the west are at historic low levels due to the drought and increased demand. The Hoover Dam and Lake Powell are running out of water. Although the population of California has doubled in resent years, there has been no new reservoirs constructed in that time. The state legislature has been more concerned with payback to worker unions, and giving drivers licenses to illegals. Our "water leaders" have been more concerned to get more $$$ for their own pensions.

80% of the water in California is used by farms.
why hasn't solar desalination been considered?

This is a question that should and must be addressed by water agency General Manager Dan Masnada. Maybe his idiotic, patronizing answer will be the reservoirs in California are like a glass of water, and all the people have straws trying to drink the water. we only have so many glasses, so DONT DRINK THE WATER.

BrianBaker: Posted: July 22, 2014 11:26 a.m.

I think there's a lot to recommend the idea. Israel's had great success with desalination, as have other countries in that region.

That having been said, a desalination plant large enough to provide water at a scale large enough to be actually meaningful would be massive. Can you just imagine the howls of protest and lawsuits that would fly to block the construction of such a thing no matter where it was planned to be located?

It would have to be situated on or near the coastline, serviced with huge pipes to transport the desalinated water. Frankly, I don't think it would ever get built.

Nitesho: Posted: July 22, 2014 12:00 p.m.

It would have to only service coast communities because of the infrastructure needed. I can hear the eco-mentalists now complaining about how it would destroy a wetland or coastal bluff or some sort....and I would actually agree with them. I was looking at a google map of Cal and there is literally no place to put it. it would have to be inland in the central valley but then the pipes to transport the water would be huge. If Santa barbera can't get theirs going (, another one doesn't stand a chance. I agree with Brian. It will never be build. Fantastic idea but I don't see how it's possible. I hope I am wrong though.

projalice11: Posted: July 22, 2014 12:42 p.m.

We are given a gift from the "SUN" let's take advantage of it ****

AlwaysRight: Posted: July 22, 2014 7:33 p.m.

Here's the problem: you build desalinization plants and it rains.

The people who built the plants look like boobs. On the other hand, if it doesn't rain, you look like a hero.

However, I'd be willing to bet $20 that it will rain in the future. Any takers? Indy? Stevehw? Ricketzz? Lois?

lars1: Posted: July 22, 2014 8:48 p.m.

AlwaysRight, you are always wrong again.

The population in California keeps on growing.
By the year 2100 it will be 3 times the current population, over 100 Million. That does not include the population of the other western states.
Current rivers and rainfall will not support that growth.

Where do we get the water?

Maybe you can take Mr Masnada patronizing answer of putting your glass out in the rain, and using straws to drink.

ricketzz: Posted: July 23, 2014 10:28 a.m.

Before we give up and shorten time remaining by energy intensive methods of purifying water we should first stop all water intensive extraction, mining. We should convert agriculture to drip irrigation. We should stop growing tree nuts and beef. If we get intense we can have enough water for people. All bets are off regarding the weather.

CaptGene: Posted: July 23, 2014 11:01 a.m.

This state is working towards spending untold billions of dollars on a "High Speed" rail system that solves a problem which doesn't exist. And yet they have no plan to find a permanent solution to the biggest problem facing our state.

The amount of land that the state would have to take over for this ridiculous train is well beyond anything a half dozen smaller desalination plants, strategically placed, would require.

As usual, the CA state government is barking up the wrong tree.

chefgirl358: Posted: July 23, 2014 12:06 p.m.

Two words...Coastal Commission. You can't build a sand castle without them freaking out.

AlwaysRight: Posted: July 23, 2014 7:15 p.m.

lars1- you will be the first one in line accusing politicians of wasting your tax money if they build desalinization plants and it starts raining.

You chose to live in a desert. And now, you wonder why there is no water? Seriously?

Have you paid any attention to BB's comments? Weather changes. It will rain again. In fact, I will guarantee that it will rain a lot. It would make far more sense to build retention ponds to hold the rainwater than expensive desalinization plants.

Will it rain enough to support the projected population growth? Maybe not. In which case, the Central Valley will not be growing food and the attraction to live in CA will decrease (no farming, no jobs, higher prices, etc). This will alleviate pressure on the water system.

Think it through, lars1. You seem like a fairly bright person.

lars1: Posted: July 24, 2014 2:31 p.m.

My response of building solar powered desalination plants was made in reply to the $30 Billion plan by the state water agency Bay Delta Conservation Plan. Can't we spend the money for new water?

That plan would construct two 30 mile tunnels through the Sacramento Delta. IT WOULD NOT PROVIDE ANY NEW WATER SUPPLIES.
The water agencies have "bought off" local business to support their massive spending plan. It only benefits themselves, not the people.

Water is needed in the West. Not only by California, but also Nevada and Arizona. The Colorado River water system will not provide any additional water, no matter how much it rains.

MichaelB: Posted: July 24, 2014 7:20 p.m.

I agree. But solar in combination with ocean wave-harnessing. At the risk of sounding pretentious, my article in this matter can now be found via this page:

Interestingly, a few months later Popular Mechanics wrote a similar article.

In referring to this issue in another Letter to Editor, "My article could perhaps be updated, but the gist of it remains relevant and timely. I suggested this idea to some of our legislators to no avail, though interest was expressed. We apparently are less proactive than reactive in government.
Glad to see that you Santa Clarita people are on this!

MichaelB: Posted: July 24, 2014 7:21 p.m.

Oh, my, Russia is even considering this for Crimea! Perhaps we should quit with starting Cold War II and focus on water, as they are:

lars1: Posted: July 24, 2014 9:14 p.m.

The Castaic Lake Water Agency is already using solar power to treat our water.

Here are Mr. Masnada's actual words....

“By using this alternative energy source, we are able to produce clean and renewable energy that allows us to hold down future energy costs while continuing to provide high-quality water,” said Masnada

You need to be a registered user to post a comment. Please click here to register.

The Signal encourages readers to interact with one another, following the guidelines outlined in our Comment/Moderation Policy. Click here to read it.

To report offensive or inappropriate comments, e-mail The content posted from readers of does not necessarily represent the views of The Signal or Morris Multimedia. By submitting this form you agree to the terms and conditions listed above. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.


Powered By
Morris Technology
Please wait ...