Medusa Inc. developed and patented in 1988 a fabric bag system for transporting large quantities of freshwater by sea, using conventional tugboats. Others have borrowed the concept for smaller projects. Medusa designs projects to optimize the combination of bag capacity and tug boat performance. Consequently, freshwater bag transportation can be made more cost-competitive than other water supply management approaches considered in drought-affected jurisdictions.
Medusa’s bag technology is unique, featuring structurally engineered fabrics that can accept the tow force and deform to permit the transfer of ocean waves. Depending on the project (distance, quantity, location), the bags are designed to maximize hydrodynamic performance to minimize drag and ensure stability. Final cost optimization is achieved with the right combination of bag hydrodynamics and tugboat performance.
The issue is not possibility, it’s economic feasibility.
California has been suffering from severe droughts. Global warming is expected to increase the probability and length of future droughts. Groundwater has been depleting steadily over the past 50 years at a rate of 1.5 million-acre feet per year (MAFY) and more rapidly at 8 MAFY since 2011. California’s groundwater supply will be essentially fully depleted in less than thirty years with disastrous implications. To reverse this, a new 5 MAFY supply must be put in place with minimal environmental impact.