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Martin
Martin, Engineer
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 4808
Experience:  i'm 41 and i never stopped studying and experimenting
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What would be a good solution to California's drought

Customer Question

What would be a good solution to California's drought problem without having to threaten fines on its citizens for over usage?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: General
Expert:  Martin replied 1 year ago.
Hi. Do you mean the drought problem in general or a more immediate water shortage problem for your home.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The drought problem in general in California. What should be done to help alleviate this problem that the current state's government is not doing?
Expert:  Martin replied 1 year ago.
The problem is mainly a runoff of water and one of instant evaporation after rain.
The land need to be changed back as how it was before the area started to become desertic. Create a series of long hugelkultur line (buried wood) trench. Create ponds (without plastic in the bottom) on every slope to create slow underground water dispersion.
Plant trees around those new "oasis" to have shade and polen that can trigger more rain in high altitude. Grey pine is a good choice for that, very fire resistant and fast grower.
Area without any constant water source can get a small stream of water from the air with fine mesh that collect dew in the morning.
Don't expect the government to do it, everybody need to start to work on the problem locally on small scale.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks and very interesting. When you said "...water from the air with fine mesh that collect dew in the morning," what do you mean by "fine mesh" ? Also, is there enough rain in CA at the moment for this to actually work?
Expert:  Martin replied 1 year ago.
A fine mesh that do not absorb water can do. Here are the common ones and the newer material researched for better efficiency:
http://newsoffice.mit.edu/2013/how-to-get-fresh-water-out-of-thin-air-0830
I don't see that as a final solution, but as a portable solution to start small self sustainable forests.
Structures can also be made for this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_well_(condenser)
I plan a ground tunel for passive climatisation that will have gardening water as a byproduct and work on the same principle.
There is enough rain. The drought is not caused by a lack of rain in CA or by lack of air humidity but by a lack of forest and organic matter in the soil. Once grey pine got their job done, after around 30 year, redwood could be grown as a succession forest.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
How difficult would your idea be and would it cost a lot of money?
Expert:  Martin replied 1 year ago.
Not difficult, it can be done with shovels and volunteers. You can also use machinery to dig long swales (the pond i mentioned but on a very long distance). For trees, you just need seeds. Once an area is stable, you can move the water collecting equipment to another location. The difficulty may be to convince those on private land to get into the idea. There is no need fot it to be organized, it can be accomplished totally anarchically.
hugelkultur can be made from residue that would be prone to fire anyway. It would be the most costly solution because of transportation cost. So the best is to start pine locally and use the produced wood (from lower branch) to start a local hugelkultur.