Les Hamasaki 2015-02-06 04:37:22
But doesn’t need to if the ie implements a new nexus of distributed water, energy, and food California’s eleven-year drought is threatening the future growth of the Southern California desert region, especially the Inland Empire.How will our leaders deal with the projected growth of two million people in San Bernardino and Riverside Counties by 2030?Will the shortage of water, along with volatile gas prices, be the end of the suburban lifestyle? With California facing one of the most severe droughts on record, in addition to the rapid depletion of our groundwater in the Central Valley for irrigation, Governor Brown declared a drought State of Emergency in January and directed state officials to take all necessary actions to prepare for water shortages.Although many water savings recommendations were made by the State agency, the nexus of water, energy, and food challenges must be understood in order to address the root causes of our fresh water crisis, not only in California, but globally as well.The ominous prediction that the world’s next major war will be over water and food shortages is one of the more sobering aspects of the national and worldwide crisis of declining freshwater, compounded by climate change and human overpopulation. According t o t he U .S. Environmental Protection Agency, about 78% of the U.S. freshwater withdrawals is due to thermoelectric power generation (41%) and irrigation (37%). Drinking water takes about 13% and industrial uses account for about 5%. Project Green California is a framework for the development of a comprehensive and integrated action plan to conserve our water supply, win our clean energy independence, and ensure our local food security in order to create a sustainable future in our part of the world.The interrelated challenges of assuring sufficient clean water, clean energy, and healthy food are on a collision course with our society’s future viability, most immediately in putting California’s fresh water supply at risk. California policy leaders must rethink, redesign, and re-engineer the critical elements of water, food, energy, and transportation systems to develop a comprehensive and integrated plan that will help the Golden State avoid a looming future catastrophe that will be made far worse when (not if!) The expected Big One, a great earthquake on the San Andreas Fault, devastates California’s centralized energy, food, and water distribution networks. Availability of fresh water is critical to Southern and Northern California’s economic growth and survival. Californians as citizens and as policymakers must make every effort to reduce and reuse this precious resource from Northern California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta and the Colorado River. The availability of cheap energy is critical for moving water, goods, and services throughout the region. And the security of our fresh food supply, its safety and quality, is essential to the health of the state’s people. In multiple ways we must create a healthier, more secure, and much more sustainable California. Achieving water and food security and reliable clean energy are more essential than ever to California’s economy, even as long-term drought, climate change and volatile oil prices make these more difficult to secure than ever before. A long-term secure water, food, and energy future will be achieved only by a sustained successful transition away from our centralized energy, water, and food distribution system -- and to a decentralized micro electric grid, modular “greywater” treatment systems, and a high-performance micro-greenhouse food production network in urban and suburban neighborhoods. New residential and mixed-use developments must incorporate mixed land use principles and social practices where residents can live, work, play, learn, shop, garden, and care for each other and the environment. California is leading the way with its 1. 32-gigawatt of battery storage initiative and $26.5 million in grants for a distributed power generation program for businesses, city facilities, and public institutions in the development of micro-grids with energy storage and on-site energy management systems. This program is envisioned to contain the building blocks for a resilient solar- and wind-integrated power grid that will eventually transition California away from the current largely coal-fired central grid delivery system that requires 600 to 1,800 gallons per day for every four-person family just to cool power plants, according to a Union of Concerned Scientists report on “The Energy-Water Collision” (www.ucsusa.org/clean_energy/our-energy-choices/energy-and-water-use/infographic-energy-water-collision.html#.VMTURCx- R2J4). Meanwhile, that average household of four requires 400 gallons of water a day between the bathroom, kitchen, laundry, and yard. But that household can deploy a greywater system that purifies its wastewater with ultraviolet and micro- filters to irrigate the lawn and water the vegetable garden all while recharging local groundwater -- technology that is available and on demonstration at the Audubon Center in Debs Park north of downtown Los Angeles. The California Water Resources Agency should cover a significant part of the 700 miles of State aqueducts and reservoirs with solar-photovoltaic canopies to simultaneously reduce the evaporation of valuable water and help generate power for their pumping stations that currently consume significant energy from California’s electricity grid -- much of it still coming from distant coal-fired plants -- to move water from Northern to Southern California. Water savings from this avoided evaporation and PV power generation will have a hugely beneficial impact on our water and energy future, in addition to reducing the need for hydropower that uses water to generate electricity. A ‘Smart Greenhouse’ Farm Network to Ensure Food Security and Safety California’s SB 375 Anti-Sprawl Act (see http://postcarboncities.net/ node/3681)) addresses the issue of climate change and advocates for a mixeduse development strategy. A network of “smart greenhouse” food-growing facilities could provide fresh produce directly to urban and suburban communities, creating both food security and local jobs (not to mention excellent fresh food). Not only do the new generation of greenhouse growing systems require only one-seventh the water of a conventional farm, they also use only one-seventh of the space, especially when the crops are grown vertically. Empty warehouses and buildings -- even highrise structures -- can now be converted to Vertical Factory Farms powered with solar electricity and illuminated in its interiors and during dark hours by low-energy- consuming light-emitting diode (LED) lights. The vision for Project Green California is about creating good new jobs, establishing a distributed low-carbon food production supply chain in the green economy, and reducing our sizeable personal and collective carbon footprint and water consumption. The current mass corporate food production system consumes enormous amounts of water, energy, and chemicals to create and transport produce and other foodstuffs to the marketplace.A low-carbon, low-water-using smart greenhouse local food production system consumes far less water, fewer chemicals, and much-reduced outside energy to create our food while generating its own power on the network’s roofs and putting that excess electric power back in the grid for use elsewhere. Project Green California will put a foundation under our state’s -- and our nation’s -- pursuit of green energy independence, a secure fresh water supply, and food security through a distributed “eco-agro industrial” greenhouse farm network throughout California. California is in a long-term drought not seen in thirteen decades. Lake Powell and Lake Mead, important sources of water to Southern California, are at the lowest water levels ever seen. Atmospheric carbon has reached levels not seen since hundreds of thousands of years before the age of humans. Just as we can no longer depend on the 20th century’s mild weather, we can no longer depend on the 20th century’s centralized distribution network for our water, power, and food. California, America, and humanity itself are subsisting on borrowed time. Project Green California’s mission is to challenge policymakers to work together to provide a comprehensive green pathway for California to lead itself, and then the country, in creating a sustainable 21st-century America, starting with every household, neighborhood, town and city in the Golden State. Les Hamasaki is a sustainable development planner and served as the Executive Director for GIVE that launched the IE Green Valley Initiative. He served on the Los Angeles Airport Commission under Mayor Tom Bradley and on the City Planning Commission under Mayor Richard Riordan. Hamasaki can be reached at: LesHamasaki9@yahoo.com (323) 350-5750.
Published by Moreno Valley Business Journal. View All Articles.
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