Water For Algae Farms

The earth will never experience a real water shortage because over 70% of the earth’s surface is covered by the oceans of the world—the average ocean depth is greater than two miles. The volume of water in the oceans is large enough to cover the world’s continents with seawater to a depth of five miles (of course the oceans would then be nearly empty, and gravity would not allow such a thing, but the image does prove the point).

With modern desalination technology, solar energy, man-made aqueducts, and giant solar pumps, human civilization will never run out of water.

Water For Algae Farms describes a plan for the construction of public seawater aqueducts, pipelines, and canals to distribute seawater from the ocean to arid and drought susceptible regions of the United States. The desalination of the seawater will be done at the destination, using solar energy to power the desalination equipment.

Energy production requires water, lots of water. Much of the Southwestern United States is arid, lacking a natural water supply. Yet these regions have an abundance of sunshine. Solar energy and seawater make a good combination for the production of electricity, desalinated water, and biofuels.

Compared to the coastal regions, the deserts of Southern California and much of Arizona and Nevada remain unpopulated. These desolate regions are dry, yet have an abundance of sunshine. Add water and you would have a beautiful warm place to live.

The Salton Sea, located south of the famous Death Valley in the desert region of Southern California, is over 200 feet below sea level. The United States could provide unlimited water to the southwestern deserts if the federal government would build a canal between the Pacific Ocean and the Salton Sea.

For example, the United States could negotiate a treaty with Mexico for a permanent right-of-way to build a canal to the Gulf of California (Sea of Cortés). The canal could be made large enough to provide an inland waterway that would transport large commercial barges between the Gulf of California and the Salton Sea; creating an inland harbor near the city of Indio, with easy access to rail or truck transport into Los Angeles — a proposal that would benefit commerce on both sides of the border and relieve commercial traffic congestion that exists today at the various U.S. Mexico Border Crossings.

An alternative to a canal from the Gulf of California would be an aqueduct directly from the Pacific Ocean near the city of San Diego. The water could be pumped up to a storage reservoir in the Laguna Mountains. Then the gravity potential of the reservoir could serve as a pumped hydro storage facility for peak time electricity generation. San Diego County could receive as much as 500 megawatts of peak-time electrical power from the facility. During low electricity demand periods late at night, cheap electricity would be used to pump ocean water from the Pacific up to the Laguna reservoir. Then, during the peak-time hours of the day, the stored ocean water would be released from the reservoir and allowed to flow through a pipe down to the Anza-Borrego Desert floor, located on the east side of the Laguna Mountains, where the force of the water pressure would turn a conventional hydro-electric generator. Then, after the seawater is released from the hydroelectric water turbine it would flow through an open canal to the Salton Sea, which is at a lower elevation than the Anza-Borrego Desert floor.

The implementation of either proposal would give the inland desert access to an unlimited supply of water from the Pacific Ocean.

The United States could then build a canal between the Salton Sea and Death Valley to create a second inland saltwater sea, supplying water to the northern parts of the Southern California desert. The floor of Death Valley is almost 300 feet below sea level (at Badwater basin) and it is recognized as the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere and one of the hottest places on earth. 134 degrees F. was recorded in 1913, second only to the 136 degrees registered in Libya in 1936.

Additional saltwater aqueducts extending from these two inland saltwater seas into Arizona and Nevada would provide water to the arid and remote regions of those states.

Solar energy would power the desalination at the local destination.

A network of saltwater aqueducts, powered by solar energy pumps, throughout the deserts of California, Arizona, and Nevada could provide saltwater to desert farms, ranches, and rural homes, encouraging families to relocate to these areas. Each family could have its own solar energy system for saltwater desalination and the production of electricity.

If public seawater distribution pipes are combined with public-funded fiber optic cable, then high-speed internet access could be distributed free of charge to the rural families, allowing homeschooling via interactive video classrooms instructed by remote teachers. Rural families could be spread across millions of acres of the southwest, giving people the pleasure of quiet country life without sacrificing the enjoyment of access to modern internet telephone services, online libraries, shopping, medical help, etc.

A canal between the Gulf of California and the Salton Sea, or an aqueduct directly from the Pacific Ocean would provide a constant inflow of fresh seawater. By using the Salton Sea as a transfer reservoir, the constant movement of water into and out of the inland sea would prevent water stagnation and enable the management of the sea level to keep it constant. With the Salton Sea restored to its full potential as a desert oasis the region would become the desert resort that was envisioned by Real Estate developers in the 1960s.

The function of the transfer reservoir would insure that the Salton Seawater is continuously moving, causing the new supply of incoming ocean water to dilute the salty reservoir water, keeping the salinity level equal to that of the Pacific ocean. Engineers would design the flow of water, in-and-out of the reservoir, in such a way as to solve the problem of increasing levels of salinity caused by evaporation.

If a second inland sea was created in Death Valley, then another Real Estate oasis would be developed north of Palm Springs. And, if the California legislature created an exclusive economic zone around each inland sea, and legalized gambling within the exclusive zones, the state gaming revenue would give the State of California a positive cash flow. And, if the special legislation required that all water consumed within the economic zones be from desalinated seawater and all electricity be generated from concentrated solar energy combined with thermal storage technology to ensure 24-hour service, then the new gambling industry would produce both state revenue and a market for advanced solar energy and desalination technology.

The purpose of the two inland sea transfer reservoirs is to supply ocean water to desert energy farms; large saltwater algae ponds or other concepts for alternative energy production. Farmers would need technology at the large algae ponds to desalinate some of the ocean water to produce freshwater for diluting the saltwater in the pond as evaporation causes the pond to become saltier.

The huge quantity of minerals, salt, and brine removed from the ponds by desalination would need to be collected and used as feedstock for the creation of a new industry that would process the salt and brine and other minerals into usable by-products. The salt, mineral, and brine produced from desalination cannot be allowed to drain back into the main reservoirs or into the algae ponds. The minerals and salt will need to be processed and recycled as separate materials; or, pumped back into the depths of the Pacific Ocean.

The military, the banking industry, and all city and state emergency services have contingency plans. These are detailed plans for what to do in response to a natural disaster or terrorist attack. Does the United States have a contingency plan for responding to the worst-case scenario predicted by global climate change scientists? Global warming is a wild card in our economic future.

If the level of the ocean rises and floods our coastal cities, forcing the populations of western and eastern seacoasts, including portions of Florida and Louisiana to relocate, or a severe prolonged drought occurs, reducing the Colorado River water supply to a fraction of its current level, what is the plan?

Water For All would give the United States a contingency plan while supplying millions of acres of desert land with water needed for open pond algae farms.

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