Water pumps in a big wayNovember 13, 2011
The Los Angeles Times reports that the combined costs of power and climate change regulations threaten to change the way Southern California gets much of its water, which the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California imports from the northern part of the state and the Colorado River. The energy and the expense of moving all the water -- over mountains and across deserts -- is set to increase dramatically over the next several years.
The article examines how SoCal's water supply system works, and the descriptions of the pumping stations are especially interesting.
A few examples:
- The five pumping plants that are part of the Colorado River Aqueduct lift the river water in stages, 1,617 feet to keep it moving across the relatively flat desert. Each of nine pumps at the Julian Hinds pumping plant 150 miles east of Los Angeles is nine stories tall.
- The volume of water propelled uphill on one recent day at Hinds plant weighed the equivalent of more than four World Trade Center towers and required six, 12,500-horsepower motors driven by electricity, much of it from Hoover and Parker dams on the Colorado River.
- The State Water Project's California Aqueduct also relies on a series of pumping stations to move water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to Southern California. The most powerful, the Edmonston plant, has 14 enormous water pumps with a combined horsepower of more than 1 million. In what is described as the single longest water lift in the world, Edmonston heaves supplies 1,926 feet uphill to a series of tunnels that cross the mountains.