California continues to suffer through a fourth year of water shortages, bordered by the largest body of water on earth. The crisis has encouraged residents to once again wonder if the Pacific Ocean is the answer to the state's water woes. Some are pushing for additional desalination plants like those used in water-starved Israel and Australia to convert ocean water into unlimited fresh water. Coastal Santa Barbara turned to desalination during a devastating five-year drought in the late 1980s, but by the time a new plant was ready for operation in 1992, heavy rains had returned. The $35 million facility ran for a few weeks before being shuttered. That's because the desalination process is not only potentially harmful to marine life, but removing salt by pushing salt water through membranes takes far more energy than simply pulling fresh water from inland sources. All that energy use is not only counter to the state's push for lower emissions, but it only seems economical during the worst of a drought. As Santa Barbara reactivates the plant this summer, water bills in the area are expected to increase by 40 percent.
Since California will be using desalination, they will need an Alkaline Water Machine to return the minerals to their water
Compared to local freshwater sources, desalination is certainly energy expensive. But it's only slightly more costly than other options available during drought conditions. That's why Santa Barbara is spending another $40 million to reopen its plant, and why 17 others are in the works along the state's coast. In Carlsbad, California, Poseidon Water is opening a $1 billion plant that will be the largest in the U.S. when it is completed in the fall. In a recent Wall Street Journal article, CEO Carlos Riva defended desalination plants against those that worry that they represent a step backward in the state's efforts to reduce carbon emissions, pointing out that the plant will "use less energy than one of the data center that are being built, and nobody claims that they are somehow immoral." According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, data centers are expected to consume 140 billion kilowatt hours of electricity a year by 2020—the output of 34 large coal power plants. According to the Pacific Institute, the Carlsbad plant will take 750 megawatt hours per day, so more than 500 equivalent plants would have to be constructed to match the energy cost of our Facebook and Google habits... 324
120 Besides drinking water, Enagic's machines produce four other types of water. Enagic recommends using very acidic "sanitary water" for household disinfecting, such as sanitizing cutting boards and knives. "Beauty water" helps close facial pores after washing with it, the company says. Neutral water is intended for taking medications and making baby formula; and "strong" Kangen water, a very alkaline water, is intended for "cleansing power" in such tasks as removing toilet stains or floor stains.
, Some doctors and scientists say the companies' claims aren't backed by good high-quality studies. "Human evidence is lacking, safety profile is lacking and it's very expensive," says Catherine Ulbricht, co-founder of National Standard Research Collaboration, a Cambridge, Mass. scientist-owned group that evaluates natural therapies. "There is no basis for any health claims at all" for alkaline drinking water, adds Santa Barbara, Calif., gastroenterologist John Petrini, past president of the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. After it is digested, food and water goes into the stomach and—no matter what pH it was when it entered—ends up leaving the stomach at a pH of about 6.8, Dr. Petrini says. And no matter what you eat, your body has effective mechanisms to keep your blood in a narrow range between 7.35 and 7.45, he adds. Chemists say it's logical that acidic or very alkaline water could be useful for cleaning, but there's no evidence that the pH of water has any specific effect on skin or pores, says Washington, D.C., dermatologist Tina Alster.