Looking back on 2013 marks a turning point in the sustainable use of water in California’s agricultural industry. In partnership with the Panoche Drainage District, we demonstrated that drainage water is not an unusable byproduct of irrigation in the Central Valley, but rather an important water resource that should be valued. For many years Panoche has taken a leadership position in the utilization of dedicated reuse regions for managing drainage water in a sustainable way. But to grow the farming industry, Panoche has also recognized that treatment and desalination is vital for both reducing drainage water and recovering freshwater. The demonstration project proved just this; that drainage water can be treated to provide a reliable source of potable quality water, sustainably and economically.
We have been running the pilot consistently now for over 6 months and the results have been extremely positive. A concept that just a year ago existed on paper is now generating data and proof of the potential for renewable desalination. It is important to point out that at WaterFX we believe there are many ways to deploy desalination and water reuse in a sustainable way and what we have demonstrated in Firebaugh, California is simply our take on the most efficient, most cost effective core process design that can be deployed at scale in the near term. We draw on an open source philosophy at WaterFX; the concept that an open exchange of ideas is the best way to aggressively build a broad-based, sustainable water platform. 2014 will be an important year for California water users; despite the consistent headlines proclaiming water crisis, we view this moment as the most opportune time for disruptive change.