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 as well as numerous islands and island nations. At the root of the global water crisis is the fact that demand for fresh/clean water exceeds baseline supply in an increasing number of places and climate change seems to be exacerbating the situation.
GWF has identified inland Southern California and the Permian Basin in Western Texas and Southeastern New Mexico as natural and ideal points of entry. There are three primary reasons for the early focus on these areas:
(1) agricultural, municipal, industrial and environmental water treatment/supply needs are pressing;
(2) strategic and well-financed early adopters are in search of new sources of fresh/clean water and new methods for treating degraded waters; and
(3) vast reserves of unusable salt-water sources in the region present significant opportunities for GWF.
Providing water to put fallowed farmland back into production in California could be a $2 to $4 billion annual market. Meeting long-term Southern California municipal water demand potentially represents an annual $1 to $2 billion market. Treating Permian Basin produced water is a multi-billion dollar annual market. All of these are attainable and serviceable markets for GWF.
Global Water Farms has a fully operational trailer-sized mobile prototype which demonstrates the efficacy of the technology and GWF is constructing a full-scale pilot in the East Salton Sea Groundwater Basin, which straddles southeastern Riverside County and northeastern Imperial County and is bound 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 brackish, shallow and easily accessible groundwater as well as degraded water/irrigation runoff from Imperial Valley farms;
(2) very high levels of almost year-round solar radiation;
(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 reduced and is projected to become much less reliable in the future; and
(5) an urgent need to remediate and sustainably stabilize the Salton Sea area.
Global Water Farms has had discussions with many stakeholders, including area water agencies and users, about a series of Water Farms in the vicinity of the GWF Pilot. These Water Farms will treat brackish and saline water from multiple sources to provide a ‘new’ source of fresh/clean water for the environment, farms, municipalities and ultimately, for the remediation of the Salton Sea. This will reduce reliance on groundwater pumping and on the Colorado River while allowing Southern California to begin to move toward long-term water supply sustainability.
San Joaquin Valley, California
The San Joaquin Valley also presents very strong potential for near-term Water Farm implementation. Agricultural and other water needs in this region, potential clients with strategic vision and large reserves of brackish groundwater present GWF with a number of opportunities. 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 worsening salt accumulation problem in its soils and shallow aquifers and is extremely over-reliant on unsustainable groundwater pumping.
The CA Department of Water Resources reports that shallow brackish groundwater can be found beneath more than 700,000 acres of irrigated farmland in the San Joaquin Valley, with up to 1 million acres likely to be affected. These underground aquifers contain millions of acre-feet of currently unusable water. Other major sources of brackish water in the San Joaquin include agricultural irrigation runoff and tile drain collector systems.
GWF can treat the salt water from these sources with a series of distributed Water Farms strategically placed across the Valley, returning fresh/clean water to farmers, communities and to surface water (rivers) in the region.
Oil & Gas Industry
The oil and gas industry extracts between 4-9 barrels of water with every barrel of oil that comes out of the ground. This ‘produced water’ comes from the same marine environment that produced the oil and varies in salinity from a few thousand ppm to hundreds of thousands ppm. Roughly 30% of the produced water is recycled for further industry re-use while roughly 70% is transported and injected into deep ‘disposal’ wells. Given recent seismic events and surface level ‘percolation’ events allegedly caused by the O&G Industry in the Permian Basin, some regulators in Oklahoma are no longer issuing permits for the injection of produced water into new disposal wells. 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 alleviating a potential environmental catastrophe and providing a sustainable new source of fresh/clean water. A 15% to 20% share in just this market segment would equate to a $4B annual market.