Grassley wants more information about John Kerry’s finances, potential conflicts


The Conversation

Installing solar panels over California’s canals could yield water, land, air and climate payoffs

The California Aqueduct, which carries water more than 400 miles south from the Sierra Nevada, splits as it enters Southern California at the border of Kern and Los Angeles counties. California DWRClimate change and water scarcity are front and center in the western U.S. The region’s climate is warming, a severe multi-year drought is underway and groundwater supplies are being overpumped in many locations. Western states are pursuing many strategies to adapt to these stresses and prepare for the future. These include measures to promote renewable energy development, conserve water, and manage natural and working lands more sustainably. As engineers working on climate-smart solutions, we’ve found an easy win-win for both water and climate in California with what we call the “solar canal solution.” About 4,000 miles of canals transport water to some 35 million Californians and 5.7 million acres of farmland across the state. Covering these canals with solar panels would reduce evaporation of precious water – one of California’s most critical resources – and help meet the state’s renewable energy goals, while also saving money. Conserving water and land California is prone to drought, and water is a constant concern. Now, the changing climate is bringing hotter, drier weather. Severe droughts over the past 10 to 30 years dried up wells, caused officials to implement water restrictions and fueled massive wildfires. As of mid-April 2021, the entire state was officially experiencing drought conditions. At the same time, California has ambitious conservation goals. The state has a mandate to reduce groundwater pumping while maintaining reliable supplies to farms, cities, wildlife and ecosystems. As part of a broad climate change initiative, in October 2020 Gov. Gavin Newsom directed the California Natural Resources Agency to spearhead efforts to conserve 30% of land and coastal waters by 2030. Most of California’s rain and snow falls north of Sacramento during the winter, while 80% of its water use occurs in Southern California, mostly in summer. That’s why canals snake across the state – it’s the largest such system in the world. We estimate that about 1%-2% of the water they carry is lost to evaporation under the hot California sun. In a recent study, we showed that covering all 4,000 miles of California’s canals with solar panels would save more than 65 billion gallons of water annually by reducing evaporation. That’s enough to irrigate 50,000 acres of farmland or meet the residential water needs of more than 2 million people. By concentrating solar installations on land that is already being used, instead of building them on undeveloped land, this approach would help California meet its sustainable management goals for both water and land resources. Climate-friendly power Shading California’s canals with solar panels would generate substantial amounts of electricity. Our estimates show that it could provide some 13 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity, which is about half of the new sources the state…



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