Processing Magazine

Texas to look into desalination options

April 7, 2014
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Texas is considering desalination as a possible way out of the water scarcity crisis it is facing due to extensive drought. While water is abundant in the Gulf of Mexico, the entire state is in the grip of a drinking water shortage, leading to instructions for voluntary restrictions on water use by consumers and businesses.

In an effort to tackle the problem, Texas lawmakers are looking into desalination options that would allow them to pump water from the ocean and turn it into drinking water. Such technology is used in extensively in some places, like the Middle East, where water scarcity is a major issue. However, desalination is not very popular worldwide because it is rather expensive, the Houston Chronicle reported.

A study on introducing water desalination in Texas has been launched, with a specially appointed committee looking into the costs and the benefits that desalination could bring. Desalination plants could cost billions of dollars and investments may not be worth it. But with as much as 95 percent of Texas already in drought, many believe that at least it should be given some consideration. According to state Rep. Todd Hunter (R-Corpus Christi), any option has to be explored.

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Experts estimate that consumers might have to foot bills of up to $3-$6 per 1,000 gallons of desalinated water, compared to current prices of $0.25 per 1,000 gallons in some areas.