A growing number of regions around the world are experiencing acute and chronic water crises: the American West; parts of Central and South America; Australia; the Middle East; parts of Africa, Asia, Europe and India; and numerous islands and island nations. At the root of the global water crisis is the fact that demand for high-quality water exceeds baseline supply in an increasing number of places, regardless of whether there are technically “drought” conditions or not.
GWF has identified inland Southern California and the Permian Basin in Western Texas and Southeastern New Mexico as its initial points of entry. There are three primary reasons for the early focus on these areas:
(1) agricultural, municipal, industrial and environmental water needs are pressing;
(2) numerous sophisticated, well-financed and credible early adopters are in need of new sources of high-quality water and new methods for treating degraded waters; and
(3) vast reserves of unusable salt-water sources in the regions present significant opportunities for GWF.
Providing water to put fallowed farmland back into production in California is a $2 to $4 billion annual market. Meeting long-term Southern California municipal water demand represents an annual $1 to $2 billion market. Treating Permian Basin produced water is a $2 to $3 billion annual market. All of these are easily serviceable markets for GWF.
GWF is currently constructing a full-scale pilot system in the Chocolate Valley Groundwater Basin, which straddles extreme southeastern Riverside County and northeastern Imperial County and is bounded by the Chocolate Mountains to the north and east and by the Salton Sea to the west and south.
This Basin and the surrounding areas, including the Imperial and Coachella Valleys as well as more populated areas of Southern California to the west, present numerous characteristics which make this an ideal location for the pilot and then for a series of Water Farms:
(1) large volumes of high salinity, shallow and easily accessible groundwater as well as less saline irrigation runoff from Imperial Valley farms;
(2) very high levels of solar radiation almost year-round;
(3) over-reliance by some area water districts on unsustainable groundwater pumping from deep aquifers;
(4) over-reliance by water districts on delivery of imported Colorado River Water, which has already been cut and is projected to become much less reliable in the future; and
(5) an urgent need to remediate and permanently stabilize the environmental status of the Salton Sea.
Global Water Farms has had discussions with all stakeholders, including area water agencies and users, about a series of Water Farms in the vicinity of the pilot system currently under construction that will process brines from multiple sources to provide a new source of the highest quality water available for the environment, farms, municipalities and industry across Southern California. This will reduce reliance on groundwater pumping and the Colorado River and allow Southern California to begin to move toward long-term water and power production sustainability.
San Joaquin Valley, California
The San Joaquin Valley also presents very strong potential for near-term Water Farm installation. Agricultural and other water needs in this region are pressing, there are numerous sophisticated and well-financed potential clients, and large reserves of unusable salt-water present an untapped opportunity. Beyond the need for new sources of clean water and the presence of large volumes of unusable salt-water, the San Joaquin Valley has a serious salt accumulation problem in its soils and shallow aquifers and is extremely over-reliant on unsustainable and environmentally destructive groundwater pumping.
The CA Department of Water Resources reports that shallow brine groundwater can be found beneath more than 700,000 acres of irrigated farmland in the San Joaquin Valley, with up to 1 million acres ultimately likely to be affected. These underground brine aquifers contain millions of acre-feet of currently unusable water. Other major sources of brine in the San Joaquin include agricultural irrigation runoff and tile drain systems.
GWF will process brine from all these sources with a series of distributed Water Farms strategically placed across the Valley, returning the highest quality waters to farmers, communities and environmental needs in the region.
Oil & Gas Industry, Southwestern U.S.
The oil and gas industry generates tremendous volumes of concentrated brine in the form of “produced water,” which is brought up in the process of extracting hydrocarbons from underground. Produced water is currently disposed of primarily by well injection, an expensive and environmentally destructive process. Major oil operations in the Permian Basin in Texas and New Mexico as well as in Southern California are nearly at capacity with many of their injection wells. For less than the current costs of disposal, GWF can fully and safely treat already injected water as well as any new produced water, thereby cleaning up a major environmental catastrophe and providing a vast new source of high-quality water for humans and the environment. 15% to 20% market share would equate to a minimum $4B annual market.