Desalination Projects Get a Big Boost in California

Desalination is often suggested as a potential panacea for California's ongoing struggles with drought. The catch in the announcement of $34.4 million in state funding for desalination projects shows why desalination is not there yet.

January 30, 2018, 8:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Desalination

Andrea Izzotti / Shutterstock

"As part of efforts to boost California’s water supply in the wake of its historic, five-year drought, state water officials have decided to award $34.4 million in grants to eight proposed desalination projects across the state," reports Paul Rogers.

An important characteristic of the vast majority of these projects: the facilities are for "brackish desalination, i.e., the "process in which salty water from a river, bay or underground aquifer is filtered for drinking, rather than taking ocean water, which is often up to three times saltier and more expensive to purify."

The article also details the current capabilities of desalination facilities in California, where five active ocean desalination plants produce less than one percent of the state's drinking water. "About a dozen other ocean desalination projects are still pending, or in various states of environmental studies, design or funding," according to Rogers.

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