Desalination becomes more viable in California as costs drop

Feb. 20, 2014

In an attempt to deal with the severe drought it has been experiencing, California is turning to desalination projects and is allocating millions of dollars to develop technologies that can turn ocean water into potable water.

In an attempt to deal with the severe drought it has been experiencing, California is turning to desalination projects and is allocating millions of dollars to develop technologies that can turn ocean water into potable water.

According to NBC News, the state is getting ready for what could end up being a long-term drought. Using saltwater seems to be the best option for water companies to meet the needs of their consumers but desalination is a costly technology. So far, various cities in California have invested more than $1 billion in such projects and further investment is expected in the near future.

RELATED: Scientists develop desalination method that also purifies water

The alternative is to import water from other states but this is neither easier nor cheaper in the long run. Prices of imported water are likely to go up, and California needs major infrastructural improvements to allow water to flow from other areas, said Heather Cooley, co-director of the water program at environmental think tank The Pacific Institute.

As technology develops, and with technological advances made recently in membrane materials and energy recovery systems, desalination costs keep on falling. Thanks to science, desalination is becoming more and more affordable and appealing to locations that hardly have any other option, NBC News explained.

At the moment there are desalination plants under construction at various sites in Los Angeles and San Diego and the huge Carlsbad desalination plant is set to become operational in 2016.

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