A solar desalinization startup is taking on California’s water challenges, and its water-cleaning technology could help farmers across the dry state.
According to The New York Times, the San Francisco, Calif., area start-up called WaterFX is tapping into an abundant resource that lie just below the parched surface of the state – billions of gallons of water.
The project, which includes a $1 million solar thermal desalinization plant financed by the Panoche Water District with state funds, removes impurities from drainage water at half of the cost of traditional desalinization.
During the pilot project, WaterFX produced upwards of 14,000 gallons of purified water daily. A larger, commercial version of the plant, set to be built later this year, could produce 717 million gallons of water.
“This subsurface groundwater is a possible gold mine,” Dennis Falaschi, manager of the Panoche Water District, said. “You’re taking a water supply that is unusable now and you’re converting it to a usable source.”
WaterFX may have come just in the nick of time. California continues to sink deeper into drought, and for the first time, officials have been forced to completely cutoff federally-supplied irrigation water to most farm districts in the state’s Central Valley heartland this year. Read more here. The result of this decision is 500,000 acres to go unplanted.