Fresh water, in other words, is about to have a “fossil fuel consumption equivalent” across the state. Every gallon of water consumed will have a calculable CO2 emission profile and mercury pollution factor, meaning that a person will not be able to live in California without being a global warming sinner.
California, of course, is the state that prides itself on being progressive and environmentally conscious. Yes its non-sustainable lifestyle consumed the region’s limited fossil water supplies to the point of near-collapse. Now, it must become America’s worst carbon dioxide producer just to provide basic water supplies to its people. And where will all the natural gas and coal come from that powers these desalination plants? The very same energy-producing states that Californians typically condemn for producing fossil fuels.
Flush a toilet and you destroy the planet
Most eco-conscious Californians are unaware that the energy they use comes predominantly from fossil fuels. (See source.) Natural gas — which produces carbon dioxide when burned — generates almost half the state’s electricity. Coal generates another eight percent or so, meaning that fossil fuels provide the majority of California’s electricity. (Renewables only provide about 18 percent, and nuclear provides another nine percent or so.)
What this means is that as more and more desalination plants come online, they’ll be using primarily fossil fuels to process water — an energy-intensive operation.
“A $1 billion desalination plant to supply booming San Diego County is under construction here and due to open as early as November, providing a major test of whether California cities will be able to resort to the ocean to solve their water woes,” reports the New York Times. “Plans are far along for a large plant in Huntington Beach that would supply water to populous Orange County. A mothballed plant in Santa Barbara may soon be reactivated. And more than a dozen communities along the California coast are studying the issue.”
As each of these plants comes online, they will add an extremely high energy cost to the water consumed by California residents. Every act that consumes water — washing your hands, watering a garden, flushing a toilet — will carry a heightened ecological cost. When water simply falls out of the sky, consuming that water is ecologically sound. But when water has to be procured using extremely energy-intensive desalination systems, it can no longer be considered a “green” resource.
“[Desalination plants] will use a huge amount of electricity, increasing the carbon dioxide emissions that cause global warming, which further strains water supplies,” writes the New York Times, reiterating what the liberal media calls “concluded science” which claims modern-day global warming is almost entirely caused by human activity. If that’s the case, however, then Californians who consume water produced by desalination plants must categorize themselves as global warming sinners who are destroying the planet every time they drink a cup of water.