While press attention focuses upon the challenges to worldwide stability from the Middle East and Africa, the US military is also contending with a second, more significant set of tests in South East Asia. read more…
Water management will be critical to the US to realize the “once-in-a-generation opportunity” brought by innovations in unconventional oil and gas production,” according to a new report by Harvard Business School and the Boston Consulting Group America’s Unconventional Energy Opportunity. read more…
As California counts its water reserves in months, which “shovel ready” solutions can help it respond?
More than $320M of California’s emergency drought relief funds were left unspent a year after they were approved, according to reports from the California State Finance Department released last week. As the State starts a grim countdown to the limits of its reservoirs, the timeframes on the California water crisis has suddenly shifted from years to months, California’s water system has been built with 25 year capital plans, where even the fast-track water projects take 2 to 6 years to complete.
“We need to get the money out the door now for shovel-ready projects and existing water programs that only need funding to get started. No delay. No red tape.” California Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) stated back in March.
While the State scrambles to keep water running, water tech innovations that are both “shovel ready” but also built for plug and play installation are gaining attention. Laura Shenkar from Artemis joined Frances Spivy-Weber, Vice-Chair of the State Water Resources Control Board, Lance Donny, founder and CEO of OnFarm, Mike Lord, vice president of engineering for Effluent Free Desalination Corp (EFD) and Robin Gilthorpe, CEO of WaterSmart on June 5 to discuss some examples on public radio, the KQED Forum.
Apple extended its leadership in sustainable water on Tuesday when Santa Clara Valley Water District voted to approve a $17.5 million project that will channel more recycled water to the parched South Bay. While the company will only use 3% of the recycled water delivered through the pipeline, it is covering $4.8M of the $17.0 M project. Like many cities in California, Santa Clara is already producing reclaimed water in a plant built many years ago, but its been stumped by the costs of delivering water to users. A majority of the $17.0 M will go toward a 13,300 foot pipeline. On average, building new pipelines from big water plants to water users like the Apple campus cost between $1.0M – $2.0M per mile.
Reclaiming sewage for non-drinking water uses— toilets, outside landscape irrigation and golf courses– saves precious freshwater. About 40% of water used on corporate campuses like Apple’s is for toilet flushing and another 20% is used for outdoor landscaping. Distributed water reclaim systems eliminate the costs of pipelines, but regulation makes these systems expensive. The high costs of piping recycled water from centralized plants is driving states like California to examine how advanced water solutions can ensure safe treatment for waste water in distributed systems close to places like the Apple Campus.
Its exciting to see Apple extend its environmental leadership beyond clean energy into water. In driving new approaches, Apple’s Vice President of Environmental Initiatives Lisa Jackson brings unique qualifications. As the former head of the USEPA, Jackson understands the value of tech-driven water solutions, such as onsite water reclaim.
For a start-up to succeed, it needs a well defined map of the world. That map needs to be as distorted as the famous “New Yorker’s View of the World from 9th Avenue.” This cartoon portrays a map of the world beyond the Hudson River that is a barren landscape marked only by Utah and Las Vegas before a tiny Los Angeles lies at the edge of the Pacific Ocean. China, Japan and Russia appear as sand dunes that mark the far edges of the world. Similarly, water tech companies have to see the world not only in terms of where water is scarce, but also where customers will pay a premium for advanced technologies. They need to define their view of the world based on where new technology can gain momentum.