Ending California’s drought: 4 technologies to the rescue


Experts predict that California’s drought will only get worse in the months and years ahead, and with potentially less than 12 months of water left in reserves the situation is quickly becoming dire and desperate. Maybe it doesn’t have to be that way. Maybe technology could provide sustainable solutions to the state’s scorched land and dried up wells.

Here’s a short video explaining the bleakness of California’s drought in scarily factual detail. If you’re not a “believer” of climate change, feel free to move down to the list!

4. There’s an app for that!

To start, watering lawns in California during this drought is pure idiocy. In spite of that, many dimwitted denizens of the state still cling to the aesthetic touch of a nice green lawn. To help preserve the scarce building block of life, a startup called Rachio has developed a smart sprinkler system that can be controlled via a smartphone.

The system could reduce waste by a whopping 30% by tracking external factors such as weather and season, adjusting watering times as needed. If it rains, for example, the sprinklers wouldn’t need to run that day.

Again, this is lowest on the list because people shouldn’t be watering their lawns at all – especially since there are various alternatives available like using water conserving plants that are native to California.

3. We should invest in underground tunnels and other infrastructure

Singapore once relied on imported water to sustain its citizens, and so water conservationists living there know that every drop is a precious commodity not to be wasted. Today, they’re almost completely self-sufficient with water.

They’ve invested in state of the art infrastructure to trap rainwater and convert sewage into water described as “too clean for drinking.” It has to be pumped into reservoirs to re-mineralize before it can be used for consumption.

Singapore also spent billions of dollars to create a series of underground tunnels to collect runoff. Anyone who has weathered a Los Angeles rainstorm knows that their drainage systems often leave a lot to be desired.

2. Desalination could help reverse the effects of California’s drought…maybe

A chorus of scared California citizens is demanding the construction of desalination plants to reduce the impact of the drought. The Carlsbad Desalination Project is scheduled to begin construction by the end of 2016, and will provide the region with about 50 million gallons of water each day while also benefiting the regional economy. If the drought worsens, the desire for more of these projects will likely grow substantially.

Not everyone agrees that desalination is a viable long-term solution. Opponents understand the enormous costs of desalination will lead to irate consumers, but worse than that is the unsustainable environmental footprint–something which cannot be overlooked when deciding what to do about a situation so strongly connected to global warming in the first place. Many suggest that desalination is therefore a counter-intuitive solution that doesn’t make sense.

Either way, we definitely need to take a look at more innovative new technologies.

1. The human brain

Biotech might be one of the greatest technologies ever conceived, and the powers-that-be created the best example hundreds of thousands of years ago: the human brain. More than anything, the effects of California’s drought can be dampened if people use their heads and do their part to reduce water usage.

Here are just a few things you can do based on activities which lead to the most waste:

  • Locate leaky faucets and pipes; fix them fast!
  • Stop watering your lawn! There are more sustainable alternatives, as you can see from the video above.
  • Limit showers to five minutes.
  • Avoid flushing the toilet if possible.
  • Invest in low-flow faucets, water-conserving toilets, and high-efficiency washing machines.

Anyone who doesn’t keep the state-mandated cutbacks in mind may find themselves the recipients of steep fines and penalties. Better safe than sorry!

About Author

Jeff is a self-proclaimed pragmatic futurist; that is, he has high hopes for absurd life-altering technologies which sound too good to be true, and probably are. Although he writes on a variety of subjects, his real passion is for technological innovation and the people who make it happen. By day, he enjoys fuzzy bunnies, kittens, puppies, roller coasters and a sardonic written word or two. By night, he's busy running memyselfandrobot.com, replaying a random Final Fantasy game, or pretending to be Batman. He currently resides in Upstate NY.

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