Officials in California have embarked on a $20 million pilot project to install solar panels over sections of important water sources. These sources include canals and sections of rivers among others that were deemed necessary. The project seeks to deal with the persistent droughts that have been hitting the state in recent years.
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The panels will be installed over Turlock Irrigation District (TID) by the end of 2023. They are expected not only to generate green energy to support the state achieve its net-zero targets, but also to reduce water loss through evaporation. Solar panels can provide shade for water bodies such as canals consequently reducing water loss, especially during a hot day.
The project is only a pilot phase meant to prove the viability of the concept. If the concept is found to be working, California and other states may choose to invest in it. The officials behind the project have cited a 2021 study that suggested that shading just 4000 miles of water could save up to 63 billion gallons of water per year.
California has been hit by a series of severe droughts in recent years. Such devastating events have often left the state struggling to manage its scarce resources. In a bid to find a lasting solution, several concepts have been proposed, including wastewater recycling and desalination of seawater. While all these methods are still being considered, the TID project could help the state save water and also cater to green energy deficits.
Last week, officials in California announced that the state will receive $310 million from the federal government to help deal with the historic droughts. The sum will go into 25 projects that seek to address the droughts on both long-term and short-term basis. The sum is part of the goodies delivered by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law signed by President Biden last year.
“Water is essential to everything we do, and it will take all of us working together to address the significant drought impacts we are seeing across the west,” said Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland in a statement last week.
Via The Byte
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