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Powerplant siting is dependent upon many factors; in southern California the prevailing physical constraint is water availability. Increasing land-use and other environmental concerns preclude further sites along the coast. A review of available hydrologic data was made of 142 ground-water basins in the southeast California desert area to ascertain if any could be feasible sources of nonpotable powerplant cooling water. Feasibility implies the capacity to sustain a typical 1,000-megawatt electrical-power generating plant for 30 years with an ample supply of ground water for cooling.
Of the 142 basins reviewed, 5 met or exceeded established hydrologic criteria for supplying the water demands of a typical powerplant. These basins are: (1) middle Amargosa valley, (2) Soda Lake valley, (3) Caves Canyon valley, (4) Chuckwalla Valley, and (5) Calzona-Vidal Valley. Geohydrologic evaluations of these five basins assessed the occurrence and suitability of ground water and effects of long-term pumping. An additional six basins met or exceeded hydrologic criteria, with qualifications, for providing powerplant cooling water. The remaining 131 basins either did not meet the criteria, or available data were insufficient to determine if the basins would meet the criteria.
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Evaluation of nonpotable ground water in the desert area of southeastern California for powerplant cooling