A water-efficient, zero-emissions, low-emission aquaponic system that costs $40,000 and is installed in just a few months will provide residents with enough fresh water to meet the needs of a single family for the next 10 years, the owner of a San Francisco Bay Area company says.
The water-saving technology, called aquaponica, uses aquaculture to capture water from a lake and turn it into fresh water that can be used to irrigate crops, or for drinking.
The aquaponically-based system is currently being used in five locations around the Bay Area and New York City, but it’s only now beginning to make its way into the larger community of San Francisco.
The system’s first test was installed in the San Francisco neighborhood of Mission Bay, in San Francisco’s Marina district, according to Chris Williams, owner of Averaged Solutions.
He says the company plans to install more test systems throughout the region, including in Los Angeles, and plans to eventually bring the system to San Francisco as well.
The company is a joint venture between the California Aquaculture Research Institute (CAARI) and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFOW), according to Williams.
CAARI was established in 2013 as a nonprofit, and it works with farmers to identify the best water sources for aquacultural systems, he told NBC News.
CAARTI has a long track record of success in water conservation, having won three water conservation awards from the US Department of Agriculture in the past three years.
In the past year, Williams says, the company has received numerous awards and has received a grant from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
CAARTIs mission is to find and install water-saver systems for all California communities, including urban and suburban areas, and the first system was installed on June 25.
Williams said he and his wife, Kelly, purchased a home on Mission Bay for $100,000 after their son, who was in kindergarten at the time, was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia.
The new water-savings system, which they built from scratch, includes an automated sprinkler system, a water filtration system, and a solar-powered irrigation system that provides up to 50 gallons per day of fresh water.
Williams says the system will be used for two years and has already been installed in several homes in San Jose and San Rafael, California.
He said the water-management system is already making a difference for the city’s water supply.
“It’s been so good, and we’ve had the water delivered in our water meter, our water tank,” he said.
“It’s really helped us manage our water.”
Williams says there is a strong need for water-use conservation in San Mateo County, where the county’s population of about 1.4 million is more than one-third Latino.
He told NBC that in order to meet this growing demand, water systems need to be as environmentally-friendly as possible.
Williams said the company is looking to bring the technology to other locations, including a number of large cities.
He says he’s also looking to sell the technology.
The company has no plans to take a commercial license, he said, and is working on an open-source version that is open source as well, he added.