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  • 1.  Water Storage

    Posted 06-18-2014 04:58 PM
    In western states like California we are always hearing about building more "storage" (that means dams and reservoirs) to solve water supply shortfalls.  Building more storage in the 20th century brought more agricultural development, water-hungry tree crops, larger cities, and the ensuing dependency on those reservoirs.  I hear colleagues advocating yet more storage.  Honestly, more storage has got to be the worst response!  It will only beget more dependency and future need for yet more storage.  Anyone out there want to be even more dependent?

    Dudley McFadden P.E., D.WRE, M.ASCE
    Principal Civil Engineer
    Sacramento Municipal Utility District
    Roseville CA
    (916) 773-7174

  • 2.  RE: Water Storage

    Posted 06-24-2014 09:18 AM
    In California, the Governor's Water Action Plan (http://resources.ca.gov/california_water_action_plan/) and the forthcoming California Water Plan (http://www.waterplan.water.ca.gov/index.cfm) advocate the concept of Integrated Water Management to help solve our long term water problems.  The Water Plan defines IWM as:

    "... a comprehensive and collaborative approach for managing water to concurrently achieve social, environmental, and economic objectives. In the Water Plan, these objectives are focused toward improving public safety, fostering environmental stewardship, and supporting economic stability. IWM delivers higher value for investments by considering all interests, providing multiple benefits, and working across jurisdictional boundaries at the appropriate geographic scale. Examples of multiple benefits include improved water quality, better flood management, restored and enhanced ecosystems, and more reliable water supplies."

    New surface water storage is one of the tools in the toolbox that is being evaluated along with water conservation, water recycling, desalination, groundwater storage, and many other strategies to help meet IWM objectives.  Pros and cons of each strategy are discussed in Volume 3 of the Water Plan.

    Rich Juricich P.E., M.ASCE
    CA Dept of Water Resources
    Sacramento CA

  • 3.  RE: Water Storage

    Posted 07-02-2014 10:19 AM

    There were hectic activities on the construction of storage reservoirs throughout the world during 20th century.Most of the natural water resources were tapped and were filled in these reservoirs.Right from the start of the 21st century the interest towards the construction of dams and reservoirs is not appreciable.More storage requires more resources.Creating a reservoir in the 21st century is not an easy affair.Even with the Federal support,the situations will be highly twisting.That is why the interest in response is falling.If the proposal for the construction comes from the native citizens side,we may perhaps will be able to execute with lesser hurdles
    D. Thangaraj M.ASCE
    Executive Engineer
    Subramaniapuram TN
    914371 235488

  • 4.  RE: Water Storage

    Posted 07-03-2014 11:36 AM
    Unfortunately many people are missing the point here.  With climate change, even if this is only temporary for a century or two, we, in California and other western US states that depend on snow pack, will be losing our best and least expensive surface water storage -- the snow pack.  This is a wonderful reservoir.  I holds tremendous amounts of water which it releases at a usable rate in late spring and summer when we need  it most.

    With climate change the precipitation will be in the form of rain which will runoff quickly. Runoff hydrographs will have higher peaks and the peaks will occur earlier in time.  We don't have the current surface storage to capture this before it  causes downstream damage or is lost to the ocean.  Subsurface storage is a very suitable alternative.  But not all locations are suitable for subsurface storage. The geology has to be favorable and some form of conveyance is typically necessary to the location where it can be recharged.  The California Delta is a great location to collect surface water, but the subsurface geology in that area precludes percolation due to the fine sediments that have been deposited over the eons.  Another important factor with groundwater storage is avoiding places with contamination.  Not easy to do these days.  No one wants to put good water into bad water.  But maybe the cost of treating the "mix" is still cheaper than surface storage.  I'll buy that argument -- sometimes.

    So, we need a means to move the water and places to park water temporarily until we can store it underground.  This can be in the form of on-stream or off-stream storage.  We can't be "anti-storage".  It has a place in water supply.

    The reason Southern California is in better shape during this current drought is the off stream storage created by the Metropolitan Water District (Eastside Reservoir) and the groundwater storage that is prevalent in Southern California.  

    Water recycling is an important part of the water supply portfolio also.  But remember, with each use, the water picks up about 180 mg/L of TDS, getting saltier and saltier with each reuse cycle.  Eventually we will need desalination.  That's ok but we need to be ready to bite the energy and cost and carbon footprint bullet.

    Joseph Reichenberger P.E., F.ASCE
    Professor of Civil Engineering
    Monterey Park CA
    (626) 288-5046

  • 5.  RE: Water Storage

    Posted 07-07-2014 03:44 PM
    Numerous dams and reservoirs were built in the USA during the 20th century and these facilities have helped in developing power and improving agriculture and water supply. Southern California would have been a desert without these dams and resrvoirs, and vast system of resrvoirs linking from Eureka to San Diego. It has almost reached a saturation point and that is why many in USA may feel that they do not need any more dams and storage facilities. But in other parts of the world, where there are shortages in power and water supply, there is a need to build more dams and resrvoirs. Hydropower is much cleaner than nuclear powerplants, that may have radiation problems. Many environmentalists may be less supportive of dams and reservoirs.  But, water just doesn't flow from rivers directly into farmlands, kitchen faucets and hydropower plants, wihtout dams and reservoirs (Small or large). Of course, there may be some adverse impacts, just like in any venture, but by proper planning and due environmental considerations, it is still possible to develop safer and sustainable water resources through dams and reservoirs. Just because of some airplane crashes, we can't eliminate air travels altogether. Same is the situation here. So let us work together to develop these natural resources for providing much needed power and water for many countries that need them.      

    Chenchayya T. Bathala, Ph.D., P.E., F.ASCE
    Irvine, CA, USA

  • 6.  RE: Water Storage

    Posted 07-08-2014 10:23 AM
    We Civil Engineers need to become more aware of the dramatic changes coming due to global warming. In California, approximately half of our storage capacity for surface water has historically been provided by snow-pack. As warming continues, that gift of nature will be further decreased. It is not reasonable to believe that the loss of snow pack storage can be totally mitigated by water conservation, elimination of "low-value" uses, and more proactive groundwater management. There will need to be additional surface storage too.

    Will Betchart P.E., M.ASCE
    Cnslt Wtr Res E
    Cupertino CA
    (408) 741-5762(408) 741-5762

  • 7.  RE: Water Storage

    Posted 07-10-2014 04:40 PM
    We need all the tools in the tool box, including some we, as civil engineers, have not used much.  When the demand begins to approach the sustainable supply it would seem prudent to begin the discussion of what the sustainable demand really is.  More effort to discuss and identify the very painful issues surrounding limiting growth is needed.  Can cities and states continue to rely of an ever expanding economy with its associated increased demand if the total supply just does not exist.  Particularly in the arid west it's time that this discussion gain some traction.  The conventional wisdom that no elected official can ever be re-elected if they talk about limiting growth to fit within sustainable supply needs to be explored.  The only other pragmatic solution is to pay the ever-increasing costs of adding that next increment of supply whether it be monetary or environmental.  Those costly choices include re-use, storage, conservation, and new supplies.  These are tough choices and they won't be made easily or quickly.  Some specific locations will need to seriously look at this issue in the very near future.  We should lead in begin to explore this discussion.

    Rick Gold P.E., P.E., D.WRE, D.WRE, M.ASCE
    Gold H20 Pro, LC
    Salt Lake Cty UT
    (801) 931-7103

  • 8.  RE:Water Storage

    Posted 07-14-2014 10:19 AM
    An important thing to consider when looking ahead at the future of the water supply is the health of the distribution system. Water will only be as clean as the pipes it runs through. Transite pipes are still present in many parts of the United States and because they were installed early on it the development of distribution systems the documentation related to the locations and conditions of the transite pipes is limited to non-existent. To make sure that expensive water treatment efforts aren't done in vain, I think that assessing and repairing the water distribution system throughout the United States should be made a big priority. This is especially important now because a majority of the transite pipes are reaching the end of their lifespan. With more deterioration there is a greater risk of asbestos contamination of drinking water.

    Sarah Dinwoodie EIT, A.M.ASCE
    Manchester NH