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#226 2022-06-15 20:05:36

SpaceNut
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Re: Phoenix Arizona Fresh Water Supply vs Mars City Fresh Water Supply

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#227 2022-06-16 10:13:59

tahanson43206
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Re: Phoenix Arizona Fresh Water Supply vs Mars City Fresh Water Supply

For SpaceNut re #226 and for your ongoing support of this topic!

Thank you for reminding NewMars readers of the enormity of the problem facing the American Southwest, and many other regions around the world.

It came to me recently, that the problem being faced by residents of these regions is new to them, but it would be routine for residents who set up shop on Mars.

On Mars there will be NO free water ... or oxygen ... or anything else, except for a reasonable abundance of CO2 and iron oxide.

The technology that will provide abundant water for residents on Mars would work equally well to provide abundant water for residents in drought stricken regions on Earth.

So why not combine the needs of one with the needs of the other.

This forum contains over twenty years of discussion of various issues confronting Mars developers, including the problem of securing and managing water.

It seems (to me at least) possible that forum contributors have addressed the issue of managing water on Mars at least once, and probably multiple times.

In the scenario I see ahead for Phoenix, and all the other cities, towns and individual homesteads in the American Southwest, each building would be responsible for acquiring, purifying and preserving water as though it were a precious resource which cannot be allowed to escape into the outside Universe.

That's a pretty good description of what is true now for the ISS, and most likely the Chinese station, and it will certainly be true for Large Ship (whatever form it takes) and for all it's relatives in the years ahead.

***
There might be someone who complains that managing water is ** expensive ** or ** costly.

My observation is that most of us ** already ** pay for the privilege of enjoying drinkable water that comes from the tap, and those of us who buy drinkable water at Walmart ** certainly ** understand that water is not free.

On Mars, ** nothing ** (except CO2) is going to be "free".

On Earth, we are rapidly approaching that point for everyone.  For many we've been there for a while.

it's time to get to work.

(th)

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#228 2022-06-16 18:36:11

SpaceNut
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Re: Phoenix Arizona Fresh Water Supply vs Mars City Fresh Water Supply

If this were mars we would be able to reclaim it from the rivers and many lakes for use not just from the ground and while mars does not have oceans or seas the earth is still able to reclaim the water from them.

Mars until you enclose a vast area of it will mean under ground use of these resource with little to no escape into the mars ground or air to mars atmosphere as we will need to reclaim what can be found in the mars surface soils and ice where ever we can reach just to replenish what can not be recycled with in the mars home.

Our problem for earth is it does not stay around long enough to soak into the ground but due to the soils and minimal growth of plants it runs off into the rivers and eventually to the oceans where it requires much energy to get it back. The solar condition means to get plants to grow needs shading of the surface and irrigation to get them growing.

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#229 2022-06-17 10:01:41

tahanson43206
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Re: Phoenix Arizona Fresh Water Supply vs Mars City Fresh Water Supply

https://www.yahoo.com/news/why-arizona- … 29063.html

My first choice would have been to go for sea water, but the writer of this article disagrees.

NewMars members have suggested a variety of water saving methods.  The writer of this article seems to think some of those ideas might work, but what ** I ** think the writer is missing ... anything done along these lines is just postponing the inevitable.

entral | The Arizona Republic
Why Arizona lawmakers must act now – and do something big – on water

Editorial board

Fri, June 17, 2022, 9:00 AM
Water from the Casa Grande Canal is used to irrigate an alfalfa crop at Ramona Farms in Sacaton in the Gila River Indian Community on February 9, 2022.

Water from the Casa Grande Canal is used to irrigate an alfalfa crop at Ramona Farms in Sacaton in the Gila River Indian Community on February 9, 2022.

Arizona lawmakers have a chance to do something significant on water this year – something helpful and timely, given the massive cuts looming on the Colorado River.

Or they could waste a giant opportunity.

It all comes down to the next few weeks.

Some want to use the cash to import water
There is wide agreement to put $1 billion toward water projects.

The hang-up is over how to invest it and who should make those decisions. Gov. Doug Ducey has proposed creating a water authority to oversee the cash, but he faces opposition from Republicans who say that would create an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy that could delay distribution of the cash for years.

They have a point.

But there also seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding about where the money should go – one that has grown even more glaring, given the recent bomb drop that basin states must use 2 to 4 million acre-feet less water by next year just to keep Lake Mead and Lake Powell from tanking.

A fair number of lawmakers think most of that $1 billion should be earmarked for projects that import water from somewhere else – most likely, to help fund a potential desalination project in Mexico, a project that Gov. Ducey alluded to in his State of the State address.

But we’re missing the boat if that’s how this shakes out.

That'll take decades. We need water ideas now
Any project that finds water in some other state or country – if it materializes – would be at least a decade away. And that’s in a best-case scenario.

We need to act now.

That doesn’t mean we should abandon efforts to study Mexico desalination as part of the larger, binational group that must be involved in any such deal. But it doesn’t make much sense to squirrel away most of that $1 billion for a long-term maybe.

Particularly if projects within Arizona, such as canal lining, drip irrigation conversion, stormwater capture and aquifer recharge, or water recycling for potable use, could produce measurable savings or amounts of water sooner.

These and many more ideas to save water or maximize supplies internal to the state also should be eligible for the funds.

Given the magnitude of cuts looming on the Colorado River, cities will be asked to absorb far deeper cuts than anyone had planned. Even on-river users with the most senior water rights are likely to be curtailed.

That will further strain the state’s water supplies, particularly groundwater, which especially in rural areas, was already under considerable stress.

A billion dollars won’t solve all those problems. Lawmakers also must address glaring loopholes in state water law that allow for glaring overuse.

But a comprehensive review is not likely to happen in the next few weeks. This funding could.

Whatever you do, don't kick the can
Granted, this is the first session in a long time where lawmakers have been forced to work together, to make concessions with folks they might not agree with to get bills across the finish line.

The stalemate on the budget shows many lawmakers have forgotten how to do that.

But water authority proponents have genuinely listened to those with concerns and made good-faith, bipartisan efforts to address them. And while the draft legislation is certainly not perfect, it contains useful details about how we maximize the impact of this investment.

Some have pushed to include some form of rural groundwater rules, arguing that if we’re going to invest heavily in new water for these areas, the last thing we want is to have those with the deepest wells pump it all right back out.

That would be ideal.

But with time quickly running out on the session, others have proposed to park the money for a year, most of it in a fund to import water from who knows where, and figure out the details later.

That’s a mistake.

Whether the Legislature creates an authority or uses an existing board to disburse these funds, priority one should be to ensure the money can be distributed quickly, to a wide range of projects that can demonstrate actual water savings or water generated for the communities they’d serve.

Arizona has a rare opportunity to do something big on water.

Or we could kick the can.

Please, lawmakers, whatever you do, don’t kick the can.

This is an opinion of The Arizona Republic’s editorial board. What do you think? Send us a letter to the editor to weigh in.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Arizona lawmakers cannot kick the can on water this year

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#230 2022-06-17 10:06:34

tahanson43206
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Re: Phoenix Arizona Fresh Water Supply vs Mars City Fresh Water Supply

For SpaceNut re editorial by the Arizona newspaper board:

Particularly if projects within Arizona, such as canal lining, drip irrigation conversion, stormwater capture and aquifer recharge, or water recycling for potable use, could produce measurable savings or amounts of water sooner.

It ** seems ** to me that NewMars members have listed each of those ideas.  The one that catches my eye is water recycling ... The editorial doesn't specify homes, but if that is what is meant, then the Mars/Space example is a good place to look for a model.

Every molecule of water is going to be valued on Mars, along with oxygen.

The ISS is already a good model for recycling. The objection I hear coming is "it's expensive" or "I'd have to do some work"

That's how it is, in this Universe!

The days of free goodies from Ma Nature are coming to an end.

(th)

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#231 2022-06-18 05:37:07

SpaceNut
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Re: Phoenix Arizona Fresh Water Supply vs Mars City Fresh Water Supply

Sewage is processed in lagoons and such before being allowed to re-enter the rivers leaving the cities.
Reusing what has been processed via the system after that would allow for it to be used as that is what is being done onboard the iss.

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#232 2022-06-18 06:14:57

tahanson43206
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Re: Phoenix Arizona Fresh Water Supply vs Mars City Fresh Water Supply

For SpaceNut re #231

Thanks for continuing development of this topic!  Your description of how a municipality processes water for recycling is helpful.  As a reminder for NewMars readers, RobertDyck gave a detailed description of how a municipal water treatment plant operates, in a long post back in 2004.

SpaceNut .... there is a MASSIVE difference between what we humans do now and what the ISS is doing on an exploratory basis.  The scale of a municipality is MASSIVE compared to the ISS procedure.

I'm trying (without success so far) to shift focus from the-way-we've-always-done-things, to looking at the ISS as a model for how we might do things in future.

You can (hopefully) imagine your home property operating on the ISS model.

Assuming for a moment the cost (to you) of the equipment for the ISS model is comparable to the cost of what-we-do-today, you can imagine:

1) All water is recovered from all activities, whether human, animal or other subsystems
2) Atmosphere can remain "open" to the the outside, except for those situations where temperature is too high or too low for human comfort
3) To the extent that air conditioning is needed for comfort of humans and animals, the air can be recycled, just as with the ISS

I'm hoping at some point you could return to the important work of finding an atom-by-atom water separation procedure.  We do not have such a capability at present, but such a capability would meet immediate needs of millions if not billions of people right now, let alone the trillions who (we can hope) will live on Earth and away from Earth in the future.

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#233 2022-06-18 07:13:49

SpaceNut
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Re: Phoenix Arizona Fresh Water Supply vs Mars City Fresh Water Supply

Yes the scale of size is an element of the production of cleaned water from the waste recovery. Most people would not drink the processed water from waste recovery but why not use it for the farms instead thou its been proven safe for nearly 50 years now.

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#234 2022-06-18 08:16:00

tahanson43206
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Re: Phoenix Arizona Fresh Water Supply vs Mars City Fresh Water Supply

For SpaceNut re #233

Thank you for putting your finger squarely on the issues to be addressed.

A well designed (ISS style) water treatment system will provide potable water from wastes from humans and animals alike.

At present, we humans take advantage of Ma Nature's generosity to process our waste.

The direction we need to be looking is toward the discipline that is required for space flight, or for life on Mars.

The attitude you (correctly) report, of some people being squeamish about recycled water, must be addressed.

** All ** water we consume ** has ** been recycled.  It's just that Ma Nature has been doing all the hard work for eons.

Unfortunately, Ma Nature is running out of steam, and more importantly, running out of patience with humans.

It is time for humans to step up to the plate and to take care of waste immediately, directly and efficiently, so that every atom is reused safely.

The exception is nuclear waste, which ** does ** need to cook off in a separate location.

(th)

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#235 2022-06-18 19:21:34

SpaceNut
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Re: Phoenix Arizona Fresh Water Supply vs Mars City Fresh Water Supply

Details for ISS recovery:

NASA-ISS-Water-Recycling-system.jpg

Water makes up approximately 92% of the total mass of consumables that astronauts need to survive in space

Although the astronauts try to save as much water as possible on missions, it is estimated that each astronaut will require at least 30 liters of water every day2. This is particularly low, as it is estimated that an average person on Earth consumes approximately 160 liters of drinking water each day3.

For a six-month stay on the ISS, a daily consumption of 30 liters of water and its transportation on the shuttle costs around $135 million USD, however this large amount of money could be significantly reduced if an effective recycling system was put into place.


https://www.water-technology.net/projec … _recovery/

https://www.nasa.gov/feature/new-brine- … ce-station

NASA upgrading ISS system that turns astronaut pee into drinking water

https://news.wef.org/water-recycling-te … e-evolves/

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#236 2022-06-20 09:20:53

tahanson43206
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Re: Phoenix Arizona Fresh Water Supply vs Mars City Fresh Water Supply

For SpaceNut re #235

Your post was on the board before last night's first Zoom using the new Just-for-NewMars Zoom account.  It came up in the wide ranging discussion.

To recap ... the sheer immensity of the problem facing the residents of Phoenix, of Arizona, and the entire American Southwest is (obviously) beyond human capability to solve as a group activity.

Our contact in Arizona has (as nearly as I can tell) given up on the hope of anything happening that requires more than two people to agree on anything.

Arizona (and must of the US right now) is not a place where consensus is likely to occur.

This means that there is an opportunity for an entrepreneur to offer water preservation/recycling solutions to individual residents of Phoenix.

The up-front cost of ISS level water recycling is likely to be daunting for first-adopters, but mass production of required systems should allow for price reduction over time.

Your work on separation of water molecules from molecules picked up in the regolith under your home could help to advance the cause, if you had the time, the energy and the means to pursue it.

In the mean time, the members of last night's NewMars Zoom are already thinking about how the systems they MUST have for their respective space vehicles might work quite well in Phoenix.

Solar power is certainly available in Phoenix, so dependence upon fossil fuel might be avoided, for some residents with the right combination of property location and size.

The floor is open for those NewMars members who would like to contribute to definition of an ISS style (and scale) water reclamation system for Phoenix.

If by chance (highly unlikely but still possible) there is someone not already a member of the forum who would like to participate, please see the Recruiting topic.

(th)

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#237 2022-06-20 10:26:03

SpaceNut
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Re: Phoenix Arizona Fresh Water Supply vs Mars City Fresh Water Supply

The current post in the practical ship by kbd512 system which is the cross between recovery of water and scrubbing of co2 are whats needed to be made into a for public use residential scaled system.
The image above gives you the scale for a home user that would recover the water all that is needed is the sabitier reactor to make methane and recovered water. Its power source can be solar for sure.

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#238 2022-06-20 14:13:08

tahanson43206
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Re: Phoenix Arizona Fresh Water Supply vs Mars City Fresh Water Supply

For SpaceNut .... do folks in Phoenix need methane?

They might.  I'd been thinking of their need to recycle water.

how would they use methane?

It might make sense, but I need a little help understanding how that would work.

It would be necessary to persuade home owners in Phoenix to invest substantial sums to achieve lower water intake, by increasing the amount of water re-used.

I am concerned that energy needed to achieve water independence might be spent on making methane?

(th)

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#239 2022-06-20 14:17:40

SpaceNut
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Posts: 25,992

Re: Phoenix Arizona Fresh Water Supply vs Mars City Fresh Water Supply

If you are using a gas range, water heater or barbecue grills you are using the cousins to it called propane or natural gas of which methane will do the same function.

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#240 2022-06-20 15:08:20

tahanson43206
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Re: Phoenix Arizona Fresh Water Supply vs Mars City Fresh Water Supply

For SpaceNut ... just FYI ....

Update at 19:11 local time ... email sent a non-deliverable email message

I should have looked more closely at the web site.... it was created in 2001.

The emails used were hotmail.com.

i put hotmail.com into Google, and got this:

I suspect  that no hotmail.com emails are still working.

This email was sent to the Phoenix Chapter of Mars Society, which was (apparently) a "thing" in 2001

Hi Veronica,

Begin Quotation:

Veronica Zabala

Veronica is the Arizona State University chapter president and the Phoenix chapter contact and representative. She is an undergraduate student at Arizona State University majoring in planetary geology. Veronica plans to apply for NASA's astronaut program when she receives her PhD and has hopes of exploring Mars. She is pictured here with Dr. Gerald Soffen an astrobiologist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

End Quotation.

I am a moderator (Junior) at the NewMars.com/forums.

Our members have taken an interest in the challenge of water needed by citizens of Phoenix and Arizona, and the Southwest US in general.

As you know well, the challenge of life on Mars ** starts ** with a dearth of water, and gets more difficult from there.

With the 25th Anniversary Mars Society conference coming up in October, I thought there might be some interest in the idea of finding funding for adventurous residents of Phoenix (and other cities perhaps) to try various ways of recycling water that are in use today on the ISS, and which will be needed on Mars, on space craft headed to Mars, and for successful travel throughout the Solar System.

If you or any of your members are at all interested in joining the discussion, NewMars forum is willing to admit new members.

Procedures are given in the Recruiting topic.

A lengthy discussion is available for review in the Phoenix Water topic.

A new topic might be of interest .... Interstate 80 pipeline to refill Great Salt Lake.

Regards!


tahanson43206

(th)

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#241 2022-06-20 18:11:52

tahanson43206
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Re: Phoenix Arizona Fresh Water Supply vs Mars City Fresh Water Supply

The non-nuclear ideas presented in the article at the link below do not sound realistic, at my first reading.

However, there might be something that NewMars readers will find interesting or at least worth considering.

https://currently.att.yahoo.com/news/co … 32917.html

BBC
Could nuclear desalination plants beat water scarcity?

Chris Baraniuk - Technology of Business reporter
Mon, June 20, 2022, 7:16 PM

A sign warns visitors of the droughts effect at Hemenway Harbor, Lake Mead, Nevada Monday, June 28, 2021.
Water scarcity is likely to be a growing problem
There are communities on every continent running short of water, according to the United Nations.

Unfortunately, although our planet is swathed by oceans and seas, only a tiny fraction of Earth's water - about 2.5% - is fresh, and demand for drinking water is projected to exceed supply by trillions of cubic metres by 2030.

Desalination plants, which remove the salt from seawater, could help supply the fresh water needed.

However, these plants are considered among the most expensive ways of creating drinking water- as they pump large volumes across membranes at high pressure, which is an extremely energy intensive process.

One radical solution could be using floating vessels equipped with desalination systems.

Powered by nuclear reactors, these vessels could travel to islands, or coastlines, struck by drought, bringing with them both clean drinking water and power.

"You could have them moving around on an intermittent basis, filling up tanks," says Mikal Bøe, chief executive of Core Power, which has come up with design for this type of desalination plant.

It may sound far-fetched but the US Navy has provided desalination services during disasters in the past, with the help of its nuclear-powered ships, while Russia already has a floating nuclear power station designed to potentially power desalination facilities.

There are already around 20,000 desalination plants worldwide, almost all of which are onshore. The majority are located in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, with others in countries including the UK, China, the US, Brazil, South Africa and Australia, to name a few.

But some engineers say it could be cheaper to position this desalination technology offshore, where the seawater can be more easily pumped aboard.

Nuclear desalination plant large design
Core Power is developing offshore desalination plants running on nuclear power
For decades, engineers have dreamed of building floating, nuclear powered desalination systems.

Core Power want to use a vessel very much like a small container ship, but stack containers on board filled with desalination technology. The nuclear reactor would then lie at the heart of this vessel providing the huge amount of power needed.

The firm's floating nuclear desalination vessels could have varying levels of power output, from five megawatts, up to around 70, Mr Bøe adds. At five megawatts of nuclear power, it could pump out 35,000 cubic metres - or 14 Olympic swimming pools' worth - of freshwater every day.

To take the salt out of saltwater, desalination technology pushes treated seawater across a semi-permeable membrane at pressure. Osmosis, the movement of molecules in liquid across such membranes, removes the minerals, leaving freshwater and a separate, particularly salty water called brine.

There are different versions of this technology and it has become increasingly more efficient over the years. But floating desalination systems remain relatively rare.

Saudi Arabia, however, has just taken delivery of the first of three desalination barges, the largest ever built. So, can floating desalination plants take-off?

A view of a desalination plant in the Omani port city of Sur, south of the capital Muscat
Floating plants could be cheaper than onshore plants which have to pump seawater significant distances
Oisann Engineering, which has developed a system called Waterfountain, hopes so.

The company has various designs, from large ships to small buoys, but they all work on the same principle, explains chief administrative officer, Kyle Hopkins.

However, the big difference is that instead of using nuclear power, they would all use what's called subsea desalination, a decades-old technology.

"[The technology] was never commercialised because you still need subsea pumps to facilitate taking the water to the surface," says Mr Hopkins. "We removed the pump."

He declines to elaborate as to how this works, beyond saying that the Waterfountain system as a whole takes advantage of the higher pressure on the seafloor to move water around, without incurring high energy costs.

He also mentions that the pipeline from the vessel to shore, where the freshwater must ultimately go, could be raised so that gravity can further assist the water's flow, too, cutting the need for extra power.

Mr Hopkins estimates that the technology could be, roughly, 30% more energy efficient than a traditional onshore desalination facility. The firm is currently building a miniature version of one of its designs and hopes to establish its first commercial installation in the Philippines in 2023.

Illustration of Water Fountain's bouy
Water Fountain plans offshore buoys that utilise high pressure on the sea bed
Ideas such as this, and Core Power's design are "promising", says Raya Al-Dadah, head of the Sustainable Energy Technology Laboratory at the University of Birmingham. However, floating desalination has both advantages and disadvantages, she says. There are still challenges in terms of pumping the desalinated water ashore and in finding a workforce with both offshore experience and desalination expertise.

Ultimately, humanity needs more water resources, says Dr Al-Dadah, not least because of the expected effects of climate change, should the world experience more than 1.5C of warming. "This will have a catastrophic impact on water," she says.

Amy Childress, at the University of Southern California, says that smaller, floating desalination systems could help reduce the environmental impact of the technology. The highly salty water left after desalination is toxic to marine life and today's desalination facilities produce huge quantities of it - more brine, in fact, than freshwater.

Mr Hopkins says that the byproduct expected from the Waterfountain system will not be salty enough to be classed as brine.

The most significant application of floating desalination systems could be in disaster relief, says Greg Pierce, co-director of the University of California Los Angeles Luskin Center for Innovation.

Currently "we're flying and trucking-in bottled water… it's the most inefficient thing possible," he explains, referring to the standard approach to relief efforts. "If floating desalination can address that, I'm all for that."

However, Dr Pierce questions whether it can be made cost-effective enough in other contexts - and notes that there are many other ways of securing clean water supplies. In California, for example, Dr Pierce estimates better water conservation measures could conserve about 30-40% of the water currently consumed in the state.

Communities will probably also turn to measures such as water recycling or treatment of rainwater. But should this still not suffice, desalination, no matter the expense, begins to look inevitable in some parts of the world, he adds.

For now, Core Power's design is merely that, a design. But Mr Bøe hopes that, within a decade, the firm could have a commercial system in operation. The need, he stresses, will be there.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting

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#242 2022-06-27 18:32:04

SpaceNut
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Re: Phoenix Arizona Fresh Water Supply vs Mars City Fresh Water Supply

Fill Lake Powell? Coalition calling for more water to be stored in the reservoir faces tough road ahead.

Burr joined forces with businesses on the reservoir and the social media brand Powellheadz to advocate for a target elevation of 3,588 above sea level, far above the level of 3,525 that was set in a 2017 drought contingency plan to protect hydropower generation at the Glen Canyon Dam.

The real reason for the water....

Of course down stream is Lake Meade that is also suffering from the water level drop.

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#243 2022-06-29 09:27:49

tahanson43206
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Posts: 10,846

Re: Phoenix Arizona Fresh Water Supply vs Mars City Fresh Water Supply

The Salton Sea does not have it's own topic, but the Phoenix or the Interstate topics are possible fits ...

https://www.yahoo.com/news/yes-lets-imp … 37839.html

The Desert Sun
Yes, let's import water for the Salton Sea — but from the Pacific Ocean
Reader submissions

Wed, June 29, 2022 at 9:00 AM

Several birds forage and fly near a rocky outcropping on the southern end of the Salton Sea in 2005.

Re: Feliz Nunez's Sunday Valley voice on importing water for the Salton Sea.

Right on, Ms. Nunez.  What are we waiting for?

The underground Delaware Aqueduct was constructed between 1939 and 1945 (wartime) and supplies New York City with 50-80% of its water.  It is 85 miles long, the world’s longest tunnel.

I understand that it is about 75 miles from the Pacific Ocean to the Salton Sea. Underground!  No worries about Mexican property rights, jurisdiction or international friction that might result from an overland import via canals from the Sea of Cortez.  Across Southern California, there would be little disruption to existing U.S. highways, urban areas, agriculture or natural habitat.

Only massive amounts of water will permanently resolve the myriad of problems vexing the Salton Sea. The Pacific Ocean is rising and could use some drainage. Plus providing a water source for lithium extraction. Win, win, win.

This is one of the projects being evaluated by UC Santa Cruz. I’m rooting for this one.  What are we waiting for?

Kay Wolff, La Quinta
This article originally appeared on Palm Springs Desert Sun: Yes, let's import water for the Salton Sea — but from Pacific Ocean

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#244 2022-06-30 17:42:51

tahanson43206
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Re: Phoenix Arizona Fresh Water Supply vs Mars City Fresh Water Supply

https://currently.att.yahoo.com/news/ha … 15611.html

The writer quoted below seems (to me at least) to have a clear sense of what lies ahead for folks living in the Colorado region.

AZCentral | The Arizona Republic

What will happen to the Colorado River? What we know about looming water cuts

Joanna Allhands, Arizona Republic
Thu, June 30, 2022 at 11:00 AM

A houseboat sits anchored on the banks of Lake Powell.

The seven states that rely on the Colorado River must come up with a plan to cut 2 to 4 million acre-feet of water use.

By mid-August.

And if they don’t, the federal Bureau of Reclamation will act for them.

It’s a massive amount of water to find in a short amount of time.

And there are more questions than answers about what this entails. But let’s walk through what we know.

Could the Colorado River dry up?
Maybe. Depending on how you define “dry up.”

It’s doubtful that all 1,450 miles of the Colorado River will turn to dust, even if we drain Lake Mead and Lake Powell, the nation’s two largest reservoirs. But larger stretches could go dry for all or parts of the year if the lakes tank, creating ecological disasters in places like the Grand Canyon.

The problem is one of supply and demand: We use far more water than the river now produces. Even though we’ve had close to normal snowpack in recent years, warmer temperatures, earlier runoff dates and dry soils parched by drought have left us with far less water flowing into the reservoirs.

Which is depleting them. Fast.

What if the lakes reach 'dead pool'?
Lake Mead and Lake Powell are now so low that there is risk of falling into what is called “dead pool” – meaning reservoir levels are too low to pass water through the dam. If Lake Mead were to reach dead pool, for example, no water would flow downstream past Hoover Dam – cutting off Colorado River water to anyone in Arizona or California for all or parts of the year.

But there are major problems to avoid long before we reach dead pool, particularly at Lake Powell. It involves a relatively higher lake level called “minimum power pool,” which is the point where turbines at Glen Canyon Dam can no longer generate hydropower.

The larger problem isn’t necessarily the loss of power – it’s that millions of acre-feet of river water must then be funneled through four smaller pipes that are encased in concrete within the dam.

Those pipes were not designed to handle this much water, particularly over time – which means that if any one of them is damaged, it can’t be easily repaired. And that would radically slash the amount of water that can flow downstream to keep Lake Mead (not to mention the rest of the Colorado River) alive.

That’s why Reclamation is requiring such quick and significant action. Trimming demand each year won’t restore lake levels, even if we luck out with a good runoff year or two. It simply provides a buffer to keep them from falling any lower.

How much less water must we use?
Reclamation did some modeling to show how much less water we’d need to use on average from 2023 to 2026 to provide that needed buffer. That’s where the range of 2 to 4 million acre-feet comes from (and keep in mind: That’s 2 to 4 million acre-feet above all the other cuts and water-balancing moves we’ve already made to keep the reservoirs afloat).

It’s a mind-boggling amount.

An acre-foot is the amount of water it takes to cover one acre in one foot of water. So, 2 million acre-feet is enough to flood the entire city of Phoenix ... with more than 6 feet of water.

We could cut off major cities in the Colorado River basin – Phoenix, Los Angeles, Denver, Las Vegas – and the savings still wouldn’t be enough to produce the kind of water we’re talking about here.

That’s why this is so tough.

If we’re going to produce this scale of water savings, and do it in a way that doesn’t completely cut off some users while others remain untouched, it’s also going to require sacrifices of the river’s largest users – the ones that also have the most senior water rights.

That includes farmers in California and Arizona, who have generally escaped cuts, even in the deepest levels of shortage for which we’ve planned.

What does this mean for states?
Reclamation has said that it expects all states and sectors to participate – which would mean this isn’t just something for a few junior users to figure out. Everyone’s in the pool.

But the bureau hasn’t said much more than that – other than if we fail to cut enough this year, it will mean even more drastic actions later.

For better or worse, Reclamation has declined to dictate parameters in hopes that the states can find a plan they can live with.

The bureau has shared how it arrived at the 2 to 4 million acre-feet, including charts that show what the average amount would need to be cut each year to maintain one of two buffer levels on the lakes.

But it hasn’t said, for example, whether it’s enough to cut 2.1 million acre-feet cut or 2.5 million acre-feet in 2023 – amounts that some groups appear to be targeting.

Why are there so few solid answers?
Reclamation is leaving it up to states to propose how the cuts will fall among junior and senior users in the upper basin states of Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and New Mexico that rely on Lake Powell and the lower basin states of Arizona, California and Nevada that rely on Lake Mead.

That’s not just tough. It may be downright impossible. We’re basically asking users to look past a century of entitlements and priority rights in hopes of finding something more equitable.

In just eight weeks.

Is it equitable for Central Arizona Project, which powers Arizona’s most populated areas, to lose most, if not all, of its water? And if not, is it equitable to fallow hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland, especially if we choose not to spend billions of dollars to compensate them?

What role will tribes play? And how will all of this impact water rates, food prices and life as we know it in the West?

All important questions. With no good answers yet.

Reach Allhands at joanna.allhands@arizonarepublic.com. On Twitter: @joannaallhands.

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#245 2022-07-05 18:50:42

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 10,846

Re: Phoenix Arizona Fresh Water Supply vs Mars City Fresh Water Supply

This article was forwarded by the citizen of Arizona who has taken an interest in the challenges facing the State ....

The citizen has (apparently) given up on the idea of having any influence on the course of events.  One citizen has little impact on a State of this size, although the citizens competing for the Governor's Mansion are giving it a try.

https://www.azcentral.com/story/opinion … edRedesign

EDITORIAL
How would the next Arizona governor handle a water crisis?
Opinion: Arizona governor candidates agree that water is a priority. But where do they stand on important issues like
conservation, augmentation and regulation?

Editorial boardArizona Republic

Arizona's governor candidates say it's a top priority to keep the water flowing for all Arizonans.
Water is going to dominate the next governor’s term.

Rapidly deteriorating conditions on the Colorado River, plus a rapidly depleting groundwater supply in many areas of the state, will put water policy – and the uncomfortable conversations we’ve been avoiding for years – front and center.

It’s important to understand where governor candidates stand on this complex issue because they will set the tone and the agenda for our state’s next moves.

That is a critical role, even if the Legislature must ultimately sign off on any funding or law changes, because of how imperfect any solutions are likely to be. We need a governor who can balance competing interests and compel action.

How do governor candidates view water?
Four Republicans and two Democrats are running to replace Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, who has reached his term limit. The winners of the Aug. 2 primary will face each other in November.

But what might the victor’s water agenda look like?

The Arizona Republic’s editorial board scoured candidates’ websites and pored through their plans. We also posed questions to candidates to sus out how they view state regulation, recently passed funding and their role as governor in water talks.


There is wide agreement that Arizona must find additional sources of water and stretch the supplies that we already have. Most candidates also tout forest thinning to improve the health of our watersheds and promise as governor to work with diverse interests.

But there are important nuances on the ideas in which they’d focus their energy.

Here is a summary of where each candidate stands in three critical areas: conservation (using less water), augmentation (finding additional water supplies) and regulation.

Katie Hobbs, Democrat

Katie Hobbs.
Hobbs’ water policy is tough to find on her website, but it calls for establishing a Water and Energy Innovation Initiative, which would be tasked with recommending swift actions on issues such as water, climate change and forest management.

Hobbs notes that there are “no easy ‘silver bullet’ solutions” and that water management is a mix of short-, mid- and long-term solutions. Her plan places heavy emphasis on conservation measures, such as converting to drip irrigation, but Hobbs also believes that we must invest concurrently in augmentation ideas, though she does not favor just one.


Hobbs considers the legislation to dole out funding for water “the first of many investments” that will be needed and urged multiple interests to “work together in nonpartisan fashion to amend our state and local laws to help enable water security.”

That includes modernizing the 42-year-old Groundwater Management Act, which her plan notes “has not kept up with continued growth, known sustainability issues and the increasing impacts of climate change.”

She also supports creating a voluntary, “locally tailored groundwater conservation and management program” for rural areas, which currently have no ground rules to rein in overuse.

Kari Lake, Republican

Kari Lake.
Lake, by contrast, is strongly in the augmentation camp.

“Unless we develop a new, sustainable source of water, we will soon be facing a very bleak future,” Lake wrote on her website. “Instead, the future is desalination.”

Lake also said during the only televised debate before the primary election that she favors looking at all options, including piping water from the Missouri or Mississippi rivers.


But that takes time, and in the interim, Lake would focus on expanding water storage on the Salt and Verde rivers, capturing more storm runoff and expediting conservation measures like canal lining.

Lake also told The Republic that “we are going to need some changes to existing law, and I support Regina Cobb’s efforts to create opt-in Rural Management Areas.”

Rep. Cobb spent years trying to create a mechanism in state law for rural areas to better manage their groundwater but was unsuccessful. She’s not running for reelection, and so far, no other lawmakers have picked up the cause.

Marco Lopez, Democrat

Marco Lopez.
Lopez is still working on his water policy but answered The Republic’s questions about regulation, funding and governance, noting that “our current leaders are afraid to make tough decisions.”

He supports recent legislation expanding a board to dole out funding for augmentation and conservation projects but says “this bill is just one part of the solution. There needs to be additional legislation to protect aquifer levels and groundwater pumping, especially in rural areas,” as well as adequate funding and staffing in state departments to oversee this legislation.

Lopez also says Arizona must address the issues “behind Arizona’s water crisis: the Southwest’s drying climate and drought, exacerbated by climate change.”

Scott Neely, Republican

Scott Neely.
Neely did not answer The Republic’s questions but says on his website that building a desalination plant in Mexico – something that Ducey and other Republicans have touted – is “unwise, reckless thinking.”

It’s a point he repeated during the televised debate.

Neely strongly supports desalination – both of ocean water and the salty groundwater that lies within Arizona – but doesn’t want to leave our water plans in the hands of another country.

Karrin Taylor Robson, Republican

Karrin Taylor Robson.
Taylor Robson would rather rely on voluntary measures rather than pursue additional government regulation.

“Existing water rights must be respected,” she told The Republic, “and I will stand against government bureaucrats attempting to micromanage Arizona farmers, who know more than anyone else about proper stewardship of our land and water.”

Taylor Robson says in her water plan that she would prioritize making desalination, particularly in Mexico, a reality. She also touts cloud-seeding – an effort used in some Mountain States in hopes of enhancing snowfall – as a promising augmentation solution.

Taylor Robson repeated those points in the recent debate.

She supports increased water reuse and use of water that cities have stored underground. Taylor Robson also notes in her water plan that “while every farm has unique needs and there is no one-size-fits-all solution,” irrigation improvements are worth considering.

Paola Tulliani Zen, Republican

Paola Tulliani Zen.
Tulliani Zen says Arizona water law needs a “comprehensive overhaul.”

“Most of the laws regulating water in Arizona were written for a different time,” she told The Republic. “They have been upgraded over time to address piecemeal problems that occur.”

Tulliani Zen would particularly like to address the state’s assured water supply law, which requires homes in groundwater Active Management Areas to prove a 100-year water supply before they can be built.


She touted desalination to “help reduce demands on aquifers and surface waters” in answers to The Republic but said during the debate that piping water from a river to the east is a “garbage” idea.

This is an opinion of The Arizona Republic’s editorial board. What do you think? Send us a letter to the editor to weigh in.

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#246 2022-07-05 20:09:30

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 25,992

Re: Phoenix Arizona Fresh Water Supply vs Mars City Fresh Water Supply

The political answer is we do not want to scare anyone with crazy talk about gobs of money required for what many think is nearly free. Talk of rationing or even paying higher prices for it are out of the question to admit in a candidacy.
It takes decades to get anything built these days and it appears way too late. If it were not for the Colorado River being used to make power, you might have the water that is needed.

Arizona is a land of plenty for solar and that might be the way out in to get power coming into the grid and leaving the water behind dams.

If you got a 6kwh system (roughly $15,000) and could live with in the energy budget versus needing gallons of water to be used to create that power, then you have that much water to use for drinking and other uses.

http://insideenergy.org/2014/07/09/ener … sty-house/

A power plant using 20 gallons of water for each kilowatt-hour produced would require 145 gallons of water to produce 7.25 kWh.

A power plant using 60 gallons per kWh would require 435 gallons of water.

It takes 7 kWh of energy to heat 40 gallons of water from 10°C to 46°C

Just think if you send the wastewater through a generator after collecting it you are getting free power back.

https://survivaljar.com/how-to-make-a-w … ine-motor/


Solar thermal could take care of all of the hot water heating as well.

I find that while I have poor quality water that I lack the good solar to make a difference to it without designing via concentrating of it my only chance to correct it. While Arizona has so much solar that if it changed how power was created that it would have its water that it needs.

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#247 2022-07-05 20:50:10

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 10,846

Re: Phoenix Arizona Fresh Water Supply vs Mars City Fresh Water Supply

For SpaceNut ... re #245 and the topic in general

thank you for your thoughtful response to the Arizona Republic's Editorial Board summary of the positions of the several competitors for Governor of the State.

One observation I would like to make about the reference you cited.... Until now, there has been absolutely NO thought on ANYONE's part to recycling of water used by power plants.  The thinking has been ... suck in clean, cold water from the environment and exhaust hot dirty water.  Ma Nature will take care of the problem.

I suspect that if the engineers who did such a good job with the request they were handed, had instead been asked to recycle as much water as possible, they would have found a way to do it.  Some water used for cooling in cooling towers is necessarily going to evaporate into the atmosphere with existing designs, but I expect it would turn out that almost all of the water not evaporated could be reused with a bit of effort.

So the 20 gallons per kilowatt hour could turn out to be 0 gallons of ** new ** water (minus whatever is lost to evaporation).

***
Your situation is quite interesting, and I hope the time comes you have more time and energy to devote to it.  You have a supply of fresh water that is available if you can get the pump working again.  You've indicated you have limited solar power, so you would need to use an ultra-efficient cleaning method. We've talked about using gravity and magnets to see if you can separate suspended material from the water molecules you want.

In this very forum, we've posted and discussed inventions to use solar power efficiently to make potable water using distillation.  A test installation might be affordable.   I get the impression the systems I'm remembering from recently in the forum are designed for people who live in very poor regions, so I'm guessing the cost of materials may not be excessive.

In any case, thanks again for thinking about the problem our neighbors out West are facing for ** real **.

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#248 2022-07-06 19:35:49

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 25,992

Re: Phoenix Arizona Fresh Water Supply vs Mars City Fresh Water Supply

Governor signs $1.2B water plan as Arizona faces cutbacks over three years to boost long-term water supplies for the desert state and implement conservation efforts that will see more immediate effects.

The household water coming in is clean from the reservoir side of the dam of which the power plant is not providing any water to the homes. It however is used to carry waste treatment plant water away downstream. Since every home in a large city has its waste enter the sewage system then there is an opportunity to take the grey water that would be part of that and actually make power before it exits the home.
We do know that depending on the size of the household it could be 100 gallons and upward a day which could lower the amount of the water going down the river at the dam to create power. This would save water on the reservoir side of the dam as it did not need to be used to create some of the power as it was supplemented by the grey water use.
There is also on the home inlet side of the water supply to create main pipe energy creation from the collective water flow in the system. This would also lessen the power creation side of the dam as well saving more water on the reservoir side of it.

So, what is the collective water flow into pheonix?
What was the typical household water use?
How much power would this offset?
What would that be in water savings?

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#249 2022-07-06 21:05:56

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 10,846

Re: Phoenix Arizona Fresh Water Supply vs Mars City Fresh Water Supply

For SpaceNut re #248

First, thanks for the link to the water plan report!

Could you (would you please) develop your ideas a bit more, in the line:

make power before it exits the home.

Most homes (that I know of) create waste water that either goes into a septic tank or flows into the community sewerage pipe. That pipe has a gentle down slope that delivers the collected waste (and it's burden) to a collection point.  My guess is that in most cities, that collected waste water has to be pumped up hill to treatment facilities.

Your idea that it might be able to make power using the waste water from a home sounds interesting and surely worth developing further.

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#250 2022-07-07 19:31:10

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 25,992

Re: Phoenix Arizona Fresh Water Supply vs Mars City Fresh Water Supply

I broke out a new topic Grey water recovery power generation

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