A Practical Water Solution for the US Southwest

January 2022 White Paper Global Water Farms Inc. The US southwest needs “new” water because all of the west’s existing water has already been allocated. Even in “good water” years, the Colorado River cannot supply the demand on its waters. At the end of its journey from the Rocky Mountains, the Colorado River is a trickle when and if it gets to Mexico and the Sea of Cortez. There is an ongoing mega drought exacerbated by climate change and the “actions” being taken are the equivalent of rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. In the simplest terms – we are in crisis. The lack of water in the western US is an issue affecting everyone in both red and blue leaning states – fostering more uncertainty in already troubled times. By leveraging water as a “common cause” across all layers of society, we have the best chance we have ever had to fix this problem. Creating “new” water will lead to unimagined growth and opportunity for America and it will cement her place as the leader of mankind’s transition to healing the Earth and assuring its future. A lack of action will lead to a massive migration of Americans as people leave the Southwestern US. The effect on the economy will be cataclysmic. The last census showed the first ever migration out of California. The main reasons for the exodus are falling economic prospects in agriculture, industry and development. The people who have decided to leave the southwest are the raindrops, a deluge awaits us if we fail to act. As of the writing of this paper, Glen Canyon Dam is at 27% capacity and just 35ft above the level at which Lake Powell has enough water to generate electricity. The Hoover Dam and Lake Mead are in similarly dire straits at just 34% capacity and 15ft above the point where older generators will stop working. Losing hydropower from these dams means 6.5 million people in Arizona, Nevada, and California will be without electricity. Because of the magnitude of the drought, it is no longer possible to alleviate water shortages by implementing individual small-scale solutions that only deal with “symptoms” – these are band-aid solutions. What is needed is an additional two million acre feet of water a year. We believe a comprehensive solution that addresses stakeholders’ concerns is possible and we think the looming crisis is the best opportunity our country has ever been given to start America’s next great mission. The US needs to develop a “New Water Strategy” and grow a new water supply that is on par with the effort required to build the interstate highway system, to win the space race, for victory in World War Two, to dominate the industrial revolution and then the digital revolution. This is the next great challenge, and it can unite all Americans in a great quest to build a sustainable model that teaches the world how to develop the infrastructure of tomorrow. The West needs a massive infusion of “new” water. Every drop of water that is available in the western United States is already allocated and Americans have been fighting over it for more than one hundred years. We have channeled it, conserved it, reused it, and now, we need to farm and cultivate it on a scale that will deliver the exact type of water needed to every user. A “new” freshwater source sustainably produced with renewable energy and supplied by the Earth’s most abundant resource, ocean water. The development of “new” water can now be achieved without a huge reliance on carbon based energy and without harmful effluents that discharge back into our rivers and oceans. Solar thermal powered desalination with Zero Liquid Discharge will create “green” industries that will further reduce emissions by replacing a large portion of the concrete in our construction industry with a salt- based product. The development of large scale distilled water resources is also the foundation of manufacturing in the electronics, pharmaceutical and food industries. GWF wants to share our concept for a plan with a built-in delivery system that can produce “new” distilled water for the American Southwest. Our site is on the east side of the Salton Sea, adjacent to the Coachella Canal which can connect and deliver our “new” water to coastal city water users. In fact, the adoption of this plan will put in motion the solution to one of the largest under-addressed environmental disasters in our country at the Salton Sea. Our concept transforms the shrinking Salton Sea from a Superfund disaster into a sustainable ocean water resource that is constantly recharged with fresh seawater. This inland reservoir will be vibrant, stable and constantly renewed by importing seawater from the Sea of Cortez to the Salton Sea. Global Water Farms will withdraw a balanced volume of salt water from the Salton Sea, desalinate it and deliver the water into the Coachella Canal for transit to coastal Southern California. GWF is creating distilled water which will automatically “sweeten” or improve the quality of any water with which it’s mixed. This will allow water managers to blend water specifically tailored for consumers, industry, and agriculture. High salinity water will cease to be a concern for farmers who have had to fallow hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland in the Central and Imperial valleys. Water agencies serving Southern California will be able to blend water that meets EPA drinking water standards – unattainable now because river water is currently flowing at twice the 500ppm TDS limit. Sustainable long term sources of “new” ultra-pure (distilled) water will attract high tech companies dependent on that water for their manufacturing processes and cooling requirements. There are a unique set of circumstances at this moment in time; the mega drought, the Salton Sea environmental disaster, the renewal of the Colorado River Compact and a paramount need to reunite our people with common purpose. These circumstances have spotlighted a nexus of opportunity in a location that could not be better suited to

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Opinion – A Comprehensive Solution to Water Scarcity in the West

The Independent Review Panel on Evaluation of Water Importation Concepts for Long-Term Salton Sea Restoration (Panel) has recommended against importing ocean water to the Salton Sea. Interestingly, the Panel rejected all the submitted proposals and despite it not being part of their remit, offered their own proposal. The goal of this paper is to link the Salton Sea issue to the Colorado River water shortage and propose a sustainable plan for both. Time is running out and this new reality demands immediate action. The original RFI was issued in 2018 – drought, climate change and the rate at which Colorado River impoundments have freefallen makes the original RFI obsolete in the stark reality of 2022. The Salton Sea continues to shrink and intensifying the health and environmental issues that have been ‘studied’ for the last 40 years. We now have a Tier 2 shortage on the Colorado River which may soon become a dead pool issue. The need for ‘new’ water is critical and growing. Our goal is to highlight a sustainable ocean water importation strategy and to introduce a new technology that is the only answer to creating a healthy Salton Sea, a recovering Colorado River and an unlimited freshwater supply to Southern California’s cities and farms. Water importation for the sole purpose of remediating the Salton Sea does not make sense. However, ocean water importation is essential to not only mitigate environmental and air quality issues at the Salton Sea, but also to supply new water to southern California farms and cities. New water will enhance the quality and extend the resources of the Colorado River while enabling the river to begin refilling the impoundments of the river which will restore system resiliency. The Panel was not tasked to propose or define a new solution. Their proposal does not make sense and is totally taxpayer financed. The solution we are proposing is paid for by water end users. The Salton Sea environmental mitigation portion of the proposal is a positive benefit of implementing a water strategy that supplies new water to the American Southwest and Northern Mexico. This approach encompasses a universal solution to three problems – saving the Colorado River system, remediation of the Salton Sea environmental disaster and creating an equal partnership with Mexico. Fixing water in the West is not possible without the full cooperation of the Mexican people. Most of the current solutions to either water shortage in the Colorado River system or remediation of the Salton Sea environmental disaster are considered and treated as separate unrelated issues. In fact, the immediacy of the drought has brought into stark focus the opportunity to create an integrated solution that relieves pressure on the Colorado River while simultaneously creating a full Salton Reservoir that supplies fresh sea water to be desalinated and conveyed to the cities of Southern California. In order to have zero environmental effect on the Gulf of California and the Biosphere Reserve, water needs to be pumped from the groundwater aquifer adjacent to the Gulf of California. Pumping from the aquifer through the sand and gravel will promote sea water intrusion into the aquifer without disturbing the sea life in the Gulf or its shores. Sea water drawn from the Gulf of California at inland wells will fill Laguna Salada which will, in turn, provide a supply of salt water to a siphon that brings that salt water to the Salton Reservoir for a one direction solution. The siphon will allow the creation of hydroelectric power in the pipeline between the two reservoirs. Water will fall a total of 279 feet to the -223ft level of a full Salton Reservoir and provide the power to drive the turbines. At a water desalination level of 2 million AF/yr, the hydropower system will generate 300 MW/hr of electricity to be shared between Mexico and California. Southern California’s need for freshwater will mandate a full Salton Reservoir which will supply desalinated water to all the communities in southern California. This will ensure that playa is no longer exposed and wildlife diversity will return to the reservoir which will now be maintained at 33,000 PPM/TDS and -223 ft below sea level. With a full Salton Reservoir supplying water to a sustainable desalination system that has no effluent (ZLD), the ‘new’ distilled water can be added to the Southern California water delivery system at the northbound Coachella Canal and transferred to the Colorado River Aqueduct somewhere near Dillon Rd. in Indio. As an equal partner in the development of the pipeline/reservoir system from the Gulf of California, to the Laguna Salada Reservoir, and on to the Salton Reservoir, Mexico will supply the ocean water to the US and be in a balanced position with the US in the development of freshwater resources to meet both Mexican and American needs. Laguna Salada will become Mexico’s own water desalination hub for the cities and farms of northern Baja. The distilled water will be blended with Mexico’s full allocation of Colorado River water and it will receive its share of the electricity generated at the hydroelectric power station. Mexico is currently able to transport the blended desalinated water and Colorado River water via the existing aqueduct system that supplies Colorado River water to Mexicali, Tijuana and Ensenada.  Once full, the Salton Reservoir’s incoming ocean water and the water withdrawn for desalination will be balanced to maintain the lake level and its ocean level salinity. Desalinated water will be conveyed via the route of the Coachella Canal to a point where it can be transferred to the Colorado River Aqueduct by Metropolitan Water District (MWD) for further distribution to beach-side communities. This will create a one way flow of water from the ocean to the cities of Southern California. The ability to create desalinated water in this way will also allow freshwater to be created for Arizona, Nevada, Utah and even Colorado through water wheeling. For example, water wheeling is the ability to deliver water to users in LA made by desalination/water farms

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Manufacturing ‘New’ Water

The deadline for the 7 states to come up with voluntary water cuts has passed and I’m sure that as soon as the government makes a decision on whether to go with California’s proposal or the 6 state’s proposal, it will be off to the courts. To that end, we have put together this paper outlining a solution to supply the US Southwest with a sustainable supply of ‘new’ water. The coverage we have seen to date is mostly about stating the obvious – water in the Colorado River system is critically low. Few journalists really press the question of how to solve the problem or address the stark choices we face if the problem continues. Who is working to fix this? We all know what the problem is – how will it be solved? Spoiler alert… reuse, conservation, rain water, storm run-off are inadequate to keep the Southwest’s economic development moving forward. Why is this important to us? We are Global Water Farms (GWF), a deep tech environmental start up located in La Quinta, California. Here, next to the Salton Sea, the mega-drought/lack of water has exposed the playa or lake bed that contains pesticides and fertilizers which then get blown into the air as dust – causing high rates of asthma in the communities near the lake. Over more than 20 years nearly $200m has been spent on feasibility studies and other research to fix the issues at the Salton Sea. It is only now that small wetland projects and dust suppression projects are being implemented – these are symptomatic fixes or ‘band-aid’ solutions that do nothing to address the underlying water problem. It is wrong to consider the water related health and environmental crisis at the Salton Sea and water supply in the US Southwest as two separate issues. The problem is one and the same – not enough water. By fixing one, you fix the other – I explain below. The US Southwest cannot continue to develop and prosper without ‘new’ water – the Colorado River continues to decline – even with the recent rains, we’d need 20 good years of rains and snow pack to begin to refill the impoundments like Lakes Mead and Powell. From the time the dam gates on Glen Canyon Dam closed, it took 16 years to fill Lake Powell in good water years when all the other impoundments were already full. Our whole premise is that ‘new’ water needs to be manufactured to mitigate the current drought and to supply water for future expansion. The US Southwest is headed for a major economic decline because of a lack of water – the last census showed a trickle of people leaving California for the first time. If the Colorado River does not recover and federally mandated cuts continue, a flood of people will leave to seek opportunity elsewhere. ‘New’ water must be manufactured now to avoid the negative societal consequences of the drought in the US Southwest that could result in a major migration eastward. So how does one get ‘new’ water? In short, it’s about taking unusable water like ocean water or brackish ground water and desalinating it. Two years after applying, we are in the last stages of being issued a Conditional Use Permit to build our first full scale pilot project on a small portion of the 642 acres we own on the east side of the Salton Sea. Our patented technologies use solar energy to desalinate water. We do this without membranes, without boiling water and with Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD). One modular unit can produce one acre foot (AF) or 326,000 gallons of distilled water per day which is enough water for 3-4 households per year. Inputs; sunshine and salty water – Outputs; distilled water and salt. We are constructing our pilot to confirm its production and other performance parameters meet our projections. Once we complete the testing, then we will be ready to go to market, scaling up large projects with our modular approach. Above, I wrote I would explain how to ‘fix’ water for the US Southwest. The Salton Sea is 223 feet below sea level – using a siphon pipeline, ocean water can be transported to the Salton Sea (Reservoir) from the Gulf of California/Sea of Cortez. To avoid impacting the environmentally sensitive ecosystem at the north end of the Gulf of California, ocean water will be pumped into Laguna Salada from inland wells fed by salt water intrusion. Laguna Salada, a large dry lake in Baja, is 32 feet below sea level and will be filled with salt water from the wells. From there, salt water will be siphoned into a pipeline that will fall 223 feet and generate hydroelectric power before delivering the water to the Salton Reservoir. Once the Salton Reservoir is full and the playa is covered, the health threat of toxic wind-blown dust will be eliminated. GWF renewable-powered ZLD desalination can take the sea water coming into the lake, desalinate the water and put it into the Coachella Canal which abuts our property. Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD) and Metropolitan Water District (MWD) will convey it to LA and other coastal cities via a short connector pipeline between the Coachella Canal and the Colorado River Aqueduct. We understand that advocating for a huge cross border project to arrange for the delivery of between 2-4m acre feet of water per year from Mexico with new technology is a bold plan. This is why we feel the way to gain support for ocean water importation, is to develop a ‘bridge’ to start the implementation now – before this crisis completely overtakes the Colorado River. This is a ‘shovel-ready’ project – unusable brackish ground water from under Imperial Valley should be pumped into the Salton Reservoir. There are 14mAF of brackish water under the Imperial Valley in an unconfined aquifer from 100 years of irrigation. Pumping this water into the Salton Reservoir will benefit the farmers by lowering the water

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Just A Thought

It is amazing to be in a start-up company – looking towards the future and planning how your new venture will change people’s lives for the better and be financially successful. It is amazing, but it is also very difficult – perhaps more difficult than it has to be. The question for today is what’s really more important in making investments – the idea or the returns? I’m asking because from my experience of working with investors, I’ve made some observations that I’d like to explore. For example, ‘friends and family’ are the type of investors that seem to go with the idea and the founder – they buy in to the concept and the impact the new idea will have. Yes, they are interested in a return, but they are more about supporting a good idea. I have found that institutional investors are completely different. Perhaps it’s the impact of Silicon Valley and the search for the next unicorn that has made investing in start-ups a numbers game. Is fast tracking of a product to as many consumers as possible to achieve an as quick a profitable exit as possible the optimal approach? Does this approach constrain investment in other types of ideas/technologies that take more time to develop, but that may be more important to society? Do we really need another food delivery app?

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