Rally for the Canal-ly recap — TheDenverChannel.com @COHighLineCanal

High Line Canal Regional Context map via the High Line Canal Conservancy

From TheDenverChannel.com (Sean Towle):

The High Line Canal Conservancy spent the last five years developing a plan to preserve their unique and popular recreation area.

They privately raised $4 million, and they plan on raising much more to make their 15-year plan successful.

With fewer [diverters along] the canal for irrigation in recent years, Denver Water is planning to switch gears and use it for stormwater.

Highlights of the plan include easier trail access, uniform signage, tree care, and safer crossings, which provides for building a couple of new underpasses for the trail.

On Saturday, they unveiled this plan publicly for the first time.

“This plan is just a critical piece,” Conservancy Executive Director Harriet LaMair said. “It’s a guideline for all the local governments for how they can commit dollars, and we can raise private dollars for this canal.”

As Water Scarcity Increases, Desalination Plants Are on the Rise — Yale Environment 360

Desalination plant, Aruba

From Yale Environment 360 (Jim Robbins):

After decades of slow progress, desalination is increasingly being used to provide drinking water around the globe. Costs for processing salt water for drinking water have dropped, but it remains an expensive option and one that creates environmental problems that must be addressed.

It’s been a long time coming for desalination — de-sal for short. For decades, we have been told it would one day turn oceans of salt water into fresh and quench the world’s thirst. But progress has been slow.

That is now changing, as desalination is coming into play in many places around the world. Several factors are converging to bring new plants on line. Population has boomed in many water-stressed places, including parts of China, India, South Africa and the United States, especially in Arizona and California. In addition, drought — some of it driven by a changing climate – is occurring in many regions that not that long ago thought their supplies were ample.

San Diego is one of those places. With just 12 inches of rain a year in the Mediterranean climate of Southern California and no groundwater, the region gets half of its water from the distant Colorado River. The amount of snow that falls in the Rocky Mountains and keeps that mighty river flowing, however, has greatly diminished over the last two decades and according to some researchers may be part of a permanent aridification of the West. Climate change is a very real phenomenon for water managers throughout the Southwest and elsewhere.

Desalination has been growing steadily in the last decade. JONES ET AL, SCIENCE OF THE TOTAL ENVIRONMENT, 2019

Meanwhile, the cost of desalinated water has been coming down as the technology evolves and the cost of other sources increases. In the last three decades, the cost of desalination has dropped by more than half.

A boom in de-sal, though, doesn’t mean that everywhere with access to the sea has found a new source of fresh water. Circumstances play a large role. “As populations increase and existing surface water supplies are being tapped out or groundwater is depleted or polluted, then the problems are acute and there are choices to be made” about de-sal, said Michael Kiparsky of the Wheeler Water Institute at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law. “There are places around the world where de-sal makes economic sense, where there is high pressure on the water resources plus a lot of available energy resources,” such as the Middle East.

De-sal proponents acknowledge the industry must confront and solve some serious environmental issues if it is to continue to grow. Desalination requires vast amounts of energy, which in some places is currently provided by fossil fuels. Kiparsky warns of a feedback loop where more de-sal is needed as the planet warms, which leads to more greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, there are serious concerns about the damage to marine life from the plant’s intake systems and extra-salty wastewater.

Paper: The state of desalination and brine production: A global outlook — ScienceDirect

Click here to read the paper. Here’s the abstract:

Rising water demands and diminishing water supplies are exacerbating water scarcity in most world regions. Conventional approaches relying on rainfall and river runoff in water scarce areas are no longer sufficient to meet human demands. Unconventional water resources, such as desalinated water, are expected to play a key role in narrowing the water demand-supply gap. Our synthesis of desalination data suggests that there are 15,906 operational desalination plants producing around 95 million m3/day of desalinated water for human use, of which 48% is produced in the Middle East and North Africa region. A major challenge associated with desalination technologies is the production of a typically hypersaline concentrate (termed ‘brine’) discharge that requires disposal, which is both costly and associated with negative environmental impacts. Our estimates reveal brine production to be around 142 million m3/day, approximately 50% greater than previous quantifications. Brine production in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait and Qatar accounts for 55% of the total global share. Improved brine management strategies are required to limit the negative environmental impacts and reduce the economic cost of disposal, thereby stimulating further developments in desalination facilities to safeguard water supplies for current and future generations.

Desalination and Advanced Water Treatment Research Grant Funding Announcement Available

A picture named arubadesalination

Here’s the release from the Bureau of Reclamation (Peter Soeth):

The Bureau of Reclamation has announced the availability of funding for research and laboratory studies, pilot scale projects, and demonstration scale projects in desalination and water purification. Reclamation anticipates awarding a total of up to $1 million under this funding opportunity announcement.

The funding is being made available by the Desalination and Water Purification Research and Development Program. Through this program, Reclamation is partnering with private industry, universities, water utilities, and others to address a broad range of desalting and water purification needs.

The program has three major goals. The first goal is to augment the supply of usable water in the United States. Second, it is to understand the environmental impacts of desalination and develop approaches to minimize these impacts relative to other water supply alternatives. The third goal is to develop approaches to lower the financial costs of desalination so that it is an attractive option relative to other alternatives in locations where traditional sources of water are inadequate.

Eligible applicants that may submit proposals include individuals, institutions of higher education, commercial or industrial organizations, private entities, state and local governments, and Indian tribal governments. Foreign entities, other than the United States-Mexico binational research foundations and inter-university research programs established by the two countries, are not eligible for funding.

Reclamation will make up to $150,000 available for each research and laboratory study for a duration of 13 month, $200,000 a year for each pilot scale project for a duration of up to 25 months, and $500,000 a year for each demonstration scale project for a duration of up to 37 months.

The Desalination and Water Purification Research and Development Grant Funding Opportunity, posted on May 21 at grants.gov, can be found by searching Funding Opportunity Number R10SF80251. The deadline for applications is Tuesday, July 7, 2010 at 3:00 p.m. MDT.

It is anticipated that awards will be made in September 2010, with an anticipated project start date on or around October 1, 2010.