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posted by Cactus on Monday February 17 2014, @07:01PM   Printer-friendly
from the It's-getting-hot-in-here dept.
similar_name writes:

As part of a project developed by San Francisco area start-up WaterFX, a giant solar receiver in Firebaugh, CA, rotates to track the sun and capture its energy. The 377-foot array, however, does not generate electricity, but instead creates heat used to desalinate water. The goal is to tap the abundant, if contaminated, resource in this parched region: the billions of gallons of water that lie just below the surface.

The water is tainted with toxic levels of salt, selenium and other heavy metals that wash down from the nearby Panoche foothills, and is so polluted that it must be constantly drained to keep it from poisoning crops. This, coupled with the record-breaking drought that California is facing means that irrigation costs are going to double or triple as farms are forced to buy water on the spot market.

"Food prices are going to go up, absolutely", said Dennis Falaschi, manager of the Panoche Water District. "This year, farmers in the Panoche district will receive no water. Last year, they received only 20 percent of their allocation", Mr. Falaschi said. In 2012, the allocation was 40 percent. Farmers elsewhere who rely on the State Water Project to irrigate 750,000 acres of farmland will also receive no water in 2014.

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  • (Score: 2, Informative) by Walzmyn on Monday February 17 2014, @11:11PM

    by Walzmyn (987) on Monday February 17 2014, @11:11PM (#1164)

    Farming needs good soil, good climate AND good water. This area had all three by way of water resources from the north until more and more (and more) people moved in and the water was diverted.
    Farmers were there first.

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  • (Score: 1) by bigjimslade on Tuesday February 18 2014, @01:33AM

    by bigjimslade (212) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @01:33AM (#1265)

    very much so. people fail to realize that you need a perfect combination of all three in order to make large scale agriculture work. california's central valley has it, except for now they're running out of water, for the time being. good volcanic mineral rich soil (the sierras), good climate (it's california), and water (from the sierra snow pack).

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