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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: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 17 2014, @07:44PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 17 2014, @07:44PM (#988)

    Why are we farming in the desert, and then transporting the produce across an entire continent? Why is it apparently cheaper to do all that, than just grow locally?

  • (Score: 3, Funny) by The Mighty Buzzard on Monday February 17 2014, @07:59PM

    For the most part, we're not. Most produce in the US comes from the fly-over states. Apparently they felt they weren't using up enough of the already scarce water out in California. This is not surprising logic for Californians though.
    My rights don't end where your fear begins.
  • (Score: 1) by demonlapin on Monday February 17 2014, @09:48PM

    by demonlapin (925) on Monday February 17 2014, @09:48PM (#1106) Journal
    Try growing strawberries in Minnesota right now. California has USDA Zone 9a areas that are farther north than Washington, DC.