Drought in California

Drought in California

Is anyone else concerned about climate change's effects on California. Specifically, persistent drought at this point. Anyone know if the company is vulnerable to loss of water. I assume since everyone is they would be as well.

Khagge1 | 09/10/2014

To clarify, I am not concerned about water as it relates to the manufacturing process, rather, I am concerned about water availability as it relates to employees and functioning of society in general.

erici | 09/10/2014

According to an article in Slate:

10% of California's water is used in almond farming
15% of California's water is used to grow alfalfa
20% of California's water is consumed by residential users
55% is used for other agriculture not mentioned already

So the solution isn't asking the poor homeowners to cut back by 50% -- that only saves 10% of our water. You can save 150% of that same volume of water just by bringing alfalfa in by rail car from elsewhere in the country or Canada

DTsea | 09/10/2014

Cali has always been dry.

Brian H | 09/10/2014

The longest drought there in the recent paleo record is about 300 years.

3seeker | 09/10/2014

A radioactive Pacific Ocean caused by the ongoing Fukushima nuclear holocaust is a huge concern, too.

Brian H | 10/10/2014

Trivial and overblown.

Khagge1 | 10/10/2014

I'm concerned that none of us really knows what we're in for regarding the colliding trains of climate change and peak oil. One of the reasons I am urgently wanting to get my model X is to help be ready for whatever may come. I started the thread because I am concerned that Tesla appears to be establishing itself in regions that appear particularly vulnerable to both climate change and peak oil concerns. Not much functions in Nevada in the future if fossil fuels become difficult to access and water becomes limited. To make the Tesla not financially crazy I need it to be a viable vehicle for me for at least 15 years. As long as the company stay viable the vehicle appears to have great potential for longevity.

Brian H | 13/10/2014

Rest easy. Neither will happen.

Dramsey | 13/10/2014

One of the reasons I am urgently wanting to get my model X is to help be ready for whatever may come.

Seriously? I'd think if you were really that worried about peak oil (people still worry about that?), you'd get a Nissan Leaf or other BEV now rather than waiting years to spend 3-4 times as much on a Mod X.

Mike83 | 13/10/2014

Not only do some not believe science but they also deny the drought?
Perhaps the sun revolves around the earth too for these ssme ideologues.

Timo | 13/10/2014

California drought is caused by kind of "perfect storm" phenomenon. You have three individual things making a perfect condition for drought to happen. You should be happy that things change, because that will break that condition.

bigd | 13/10/2014

Mikey "Not only do some not believe science but they also deny the drought" If you know about science then you would understand cycles

"Megadroughts have parched the West, including present-day California, long before Europeans settled the region in the 1800s. were exceeded in severity and duration multiple times by droughts during the preceding 2,000 years," the National Climate Assessment reported this year. The difference now, of course, is the Western USA is home to more than 70 million people who weren't here for previous megadroughts"

Get a clue Mikey

rn | 13/10/2014

We shall see how severe this drought is when it ends and then we should plot the graphs again. If drought continues this year as well, it will beat the previous multi-century record. I hope it ends soon.

Mike83 | 14/10/2014

big dd you should look at some factual information vs. a news rag.

In addition, all the well water sucked up has lowered the land by over 30 ft. and brackish water is contaminating drinking water. There are places where Arsenic is showing up in wells.
I would say its not a sun cycle but DD you believe in whatever you like; it won't change a thing.
It really is a problem.

Timo | 14/10/2014

Drought is not caused by global warming. It's normal for California area.

There was a scientific paper about that that someone else posted here some time ago (nwdiver?). It studied about causes of the drought and is it something that can be predicted. Turns out that it can.

Drought should go away when El Nino activates, at least temporarily. It comes back when dipole strength grows again. It's just something that comes and goes.

This is the one actual cost of the global warming, things change, and while one place benefits from it there will be places that get hurt. That causes migrations, in California case where there are already low clean water reserves people will (and should) move away from there.

But things progress slowly, so that's nothing dramatic. More places benefit, some places get hurt.

Red Sage ca us | 14/10/2014

If only someone had suggested that three water desalinization plants be built for every offshore oil drilling rig on the Pacific Coastline. Oh, wait... That would have made sense. Nevermind.

bigd | 14/10/2014

Mikey "dd you should look at some factual information" like usual, your reference was absolutely useless. I went to it and looked at the pretty pictures as that was the value of it. Nothing in your reference disproved that the drought is from anything other than weather trends.

Mike83 | 14/10/2014

It must be nice to have such Rose colored glasses.

Mike83 | 14/10/2014

They are building costly desalination plants near Carlsbad I believe.
The water tastes awful and may be hazardous to your health.
Many people have reverse osmosis and/or filters. What does bottled water cost? ~$8/gallon in bottles. Maybe they could extract water from oil. ;-)

7thGate | 14/10/2014

I sincerely doubt there will be a long term persistent water shortage without government interference anywhere near a coast. Costs to desalinate water run between .2 and .4 cents per gallon. As long as there are cheaper sources of water, the plants won't get built, but if there is ever a persistent drought in an area, it becomes profitable to manufacture water for sale, so people will do it to meet demand.

There is a table in the wikipedia article on desalination that shows the costs per day. For US levels of water use, which are twice as high as Europe, its like 30 cents per person per day to desalinate water. That's high enough that it might make people think twice about keeping and maintaining a multi-acre grass lawn in a desert area (which is a good thing), but is trivial for most people in the US to cover.

You can see it happening already in modern areas with low natural water reserves and coastlines. Saudi Arabia has desalination plants, Israel has desalination plants, California has desalination plants. The cost of water will rise as natural reserves become depleted, but since water can be manufactured, there will be a cap put by the market on how expensive or rare it can get.

Red Sage ca us | 14/10/2014

Israel, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, et al get their water using desalinization and purification technologies that were developed in California -- decades ago.

They pump oil out of the ground, sell it, use the money for something worthwhile, that's lasting, was needed, and works.

California built a pipeline over mountains, hundreds of miles to bring in water from Colorado. There's oil in the ground here too. Oh, but the funds were used elsewise.

Just once, it would be really nice if when Americans come up with a good idea they might be allowed to see its concepts allowed to bear fruit on these shores first.

bigd | 14/10/2014

"Just once, it would be really nice if when Americans come up with a good idea they might be allowed to see its concepts allowed to bear fruit on these shores first." +100

7thGate | 14/10/2014

I could be wrong, but I'm guessing it was cheaper at the time to bring water in from Colorado than to desalinate it out of the ocean. America is big and has a lot of resources, and there are far fewer constraints on piping water across state lines than across country borders. Desalination plants won't show up until cheaper sources, such as mining it out of the ground, get depleted or become insufficient to meet demand, at which point they'll start springing up in droves. The fact that we don't have a large percentage of our total water coming from desalination has more to do with us not needing to do that yet than a lack of will or focus to apply the technologies we've invented. As we mine out the water we currently have, there will be a switchover and the ocean will provide what we need. Given that it currently takes a minimum wage worker 2.5 minutes to earn enough to cover a day's worth of desalinated water use at the 100 gallon per day US water use rate, I'm not overly concerned about water shortages causing a crippling long term problem for the US.

Khagge1 | 14/10/2014

I do believe the evidence is clear that Peak oil is coming and is likely here. What concerns me about this is the massive overpopulation that has accompanied our irresponsible use of this resource. When oil becomes more difficult and costly, the food production based on it's easy access will suffer. With starvation comes disease and unrest (Ebola/Africa). Some folks point to tracking or tar sands as proof that the oil supply is long from done. Unfortunately, I view those technologies as our the beginning of the end. If easy oil was till available we would not be spending a fortune both in dollars and environmental destruction to get boost our supply line. I'm not in to sky is falling crap, it's just hard to not step back and see all the dominos falling in to place. Of the many reasons I like the Tesla is its long range utility both as a vehicle or as a potential battery pack for my 4.14 KwH solar array if the shit really hits the fan. Unfortunately, climate change will likely make all things associated with the decrease of oil supplies more difficult. It amazes me that anyone could not still see the gravity of what we now face related to climate change. I'm afraid we're like frogs in tepid water.

Yes, I intend to wait for my X because it is years ahead of any of the other electric products available and it's gonna be crazy fast. The chicks dig speed!!!!

Red Sage ca us | 14/10/2014

The problem wasn't what was cheaper to do in the short term. The problem is that government officials often forgo that which is expensive in the short term for that which is downright stupid in the long term. Of course, the fact that someone's brother's cousin's sister's aunt's son-in-law likely got the contract and then made kickbacks... ~*ahem*~ campaign contributions to those same government officials probably had a lot to do with it all as well.

There is an ocean next to California. It's made of water. Trust me, I've seen it. And the whole thing is an awful lot closer than Colorado.

Mike83 | 14/10/2014

@Khagge1+ yes food is a big issue as well since N2 fertilizers requires oil, farm equipment, transportation, etc. Also the limited amounts of P, K, and other elements. Electric production uses lots of water including nuclear reactors.
The joke about energy independence with oil and gas is that the figures I've seen show great production in the first 2 years and then a leveling and rapid drop of production. Of course you won't hear that in the news or investment pendents who claim great production.
Solar backup batteries will help during the late evening hours with PV's. I am thinking of expanding my PV in the future.
People don't want to see it. They would rather go shopping and ignore it.
My P85 works great for that look from beautiful girls, my wife doesn't mind just the looks. Only looking.

bigd | 14/10/2014

"There is an ocean next to California. It's made of water. Trust me, I've seen it. And the whole thing is an awful lot closer than Colorado." Now that was funny Sage

Serious though, that is the main problem with Govt and some private companies. They want the quick fix and have no foresight.

Khagge1 --- Calm down and don't let your imagination run away with you. We will be on another type of energy (BrianH had a article about nuclear fusion that was great, I just cant find it at the moment) long before the oil runs out ;-). Furthermore, migration is a far worse problem with disease then starvation.

No, Im not blind to the world Mikey as I just have faith in mankinds innovation and resolve :-)

Mikeys vehicle his daddy bought him

bigd | 14/10/2014

Sage --- I was laughing so hard I forget to say we could prevent the ocean levels from rising if we would have installed desalinization and purification 30 years ago.

Mike83 | 14/10/2014

Hey DD I see you posted your other car. You can see so clearly through your Rose colored glasses. Of you don't need to do anything; let someone else do it.

bigd | 14/10/2014

Mikey - you make no sense at all. But you are good for some laughs

Mike83 | 14/10/2014

Hey DD you frack me up.

7thGate | 14/10/2014

The good thing about N2 fertilizers is that they need hydrogen, not oil. The Haber process uses hydrogen to artificially fix atmospheric nitrogen. Currently and for the forseeable future, the cheapest source of hydrogen is natural gas, so that's what people use. There is no intrinsic reliance on oil here for fertilizer production, however. If we run out of oil, people will crack water with solar or fusion to keep making the hydrogen they need for the fertilizer for the food they're growing. Food prices will rise by the cost difference between using the hydrogen stored in natural gas and the cost of the energy use in cracking water, but they'll be suppressed by advances in genetic engineering, farm science and automation. It is unclear that the net result will be higher food prices as oil dwindles, as it depends on the rates of change of the variables involved. If solar collapses the price of electricity hard enough, it could end up being cheaper to make fertilizer out of water using solar instead of using natural gas (my understanding is that would require solar with an amortized electricity cost of 2 cents/kwh, which while not exactly likely to happen soon, is not entirely absurd for the future either).

The thing to remember is that saying "We use this thing at X rate, and we only have Y of it available; we're going to run out of it in Y/X years!" is only true if there are not substitutes for the thing waiting in the wings for the price to rise. A lot of the things people are worried we're going to use up (groundwater reserves, oil based nitrogen fertilizers, gasoline) there are alternatives that are not quite cost competitive that will step in to alleviate pressure as technology improves or supplies start to dwindle (desalinated water, nitrogen fertilizer fixed via electrolysis, electric cars).

Mike83 | 14/10/2014

What is quite amazing is that the World uses 16 Terawatts of Energy/year of which 85% is from oil.
The Sun provides 86,000 Terawatts of energy/year. Technology has been too much focused on oil, uranium, coal, and wood even the ridiculous idea of trying to store CO2 from burning the finite coal source.
There is great research going on like diatoms producing H2, bio-fuels, syn fuels, wind turbines(created by the sun), fusion, even putting PV panels in orbit(24hr/day solar)and microwaving the energy back.
Sewage is also causing dead zones near ocean cities which could be solved by growing algae genetically engineered to grow in sewage and then using the lipids for fuel. Lots of R&D is going on now.
All alternative energy processes will be needed to make up for oil, coal and gas prior to serious global warming problems caused by going over 2C.

Blueshift | 14/10/2014

16 TW = 16,000 GW, 85% from oil = 13,600 GW from burning oil.

Imagine that post-peak-oil looks like this: 3% annual decline in oil available to burn.

3% of 13,600 GW = 408 GW

Then we will need to replace 408 GW of production each year, year after year, for at least a third of a century:


Build 408 1-GW nuclear power plants per year (zero have been build in the US in my lifetime); or

Build 408,000 1 MW windmills per year (or 1,117 1 MW windmills per day, 47 per hour).

Increase those numbers annually as world energy use grows (world energy use tracks world GDP closely).

Blueshift | 14/10/2014

Looks like world energy consumption is something like 33% from oil, 85% from all fossil fuels.

As long as we can install one of these every 76 seconds, 24/7/365 for thirty years we have peak-fossil-fuel solved:

Or build 408 nuclear power plants per year.

Brian H | 14/10/2014

Re the declining yields from wells: compared to 5 years ago, each frac wellhead now produces 8X as much, due to improved tech. Shows no signs of slowing. The US is now the #1 producer of oil and gas, world-wide. Its plans for LNG exports are crucial to the EU's survival, since they refuse to drill their own. Etc.

Red Sage ca us | 14/10/2014

BlueShift: That's why we should have started 35 years ago. The kick the can down the road paradigm is idiotic. We must do what we can... today. For the sake of everyone's tomorrow.

Mike83 | 15/10/2014

You are right about 85% from all fossil fuels.
Starting too late, I hope not. The other alternative is conservation of resources and lowering of living standards. Political solutions will be difficult. It seems Germany and China and California(the 8th biggest world economy)are leading the way. The problem with our Congress controlled by the fossil fuel industry makes matters difficult. Hope we can change that.

Timo | 15/10/2014

I don't think energy reserves will ever be any problem. After all there are huge number of resources that are not used practically at all. Like solar, wind, ocean currents, wave, geothermal and finally, thanks to spaceX, space solar. When there is will there is also solution. Who knows, maybe fusion also gets in that equation before fossils get too low.

People probably will need to pay from the energy they use a bit more before those get profitable, but eventually that money just circulates back to everyone.