Blocking Evaporation Could Save Great Amounts Of Water
San Diego Company Offers Solution
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
A remarkable amount of water in the parched Southwest could be saved each year if the evaporation process were blocked. That's what a San Diego company proposes to do.
A significant amount of our water supply is lost each year through evaporation. A San Diego company has developed a product to save more of that water.
We don't always think about how much of our water supply is lost to evaporation.
But Steven Taylor with San Diego-based Aquatain Solutions said a one-acre reservoir in Southern California can lose nearly 2-million-gallons a year.
Taylor's company has created a "liquid blanket" using a silicone-based product to reduce evaporation.
Think solar pool cover, but thinner and invisible.
Taylor said the key is an additive called Aquatain, a unique additive that quickly forms a micro-thin, invisible film on top of a body of water that suppresses evaporation.
"Because the molecules are elastic in nature, what happens is if there's disturbance or wind they separate but they reform, which makes the product effective on large surface areas," said Taylor.
He said recent tests in ponds at the Sycuan Golf Course showed that evaporation could be reduced by nearly 75 percent.
He said it costs roughly $150 to $200 to save an acre-foot of water using Aquatain. San Diego-area water agencies pay roughly $500 to $600 per acre-foot for imported water, more than twice the cost of saving water lost to evaporation, according to Taylor.
"If you calculate how much water we are saving the user as compared to the cost of the product, they're going to see a net saving at the end of the year compared to what they would be losing if they weren't using Aquatain," said Taylor.
Taylor said Aquatain has been widely used in Australia for years.
He said the product has been certified by an international testing agency as safe for human and marine life.
Taylor said Aquatain is used by the Wavehouse water park in San Diego. The Carlsbad Research Center is scheduled to test the product at its 1.4-acre community irrigation pond, Taylor added. He expects public water agencies that operate large open-surface reservoirs to ultimately make up the largest customer base for Aquatain.