September 1, 2013

Desalination to Solve Water Shortage?

One possible solution to the water shortage experienced by California’s agricultural industry is desalination. Desalination is not new, but current methods such as reverse osmosis (RO) and flash distillation are expensive. If a cost-effective way to extract the freshwater from ocean water could be found, farms and communities would benefit.

“Reclamation Commissioner Michael L. Connor announced that nine entities will share more than $1.1 million in awards in support of laboratory and pilot scale research studies in the field of water desalination and purification. Through required cost shares of up to 75%, Reclamation’s funding will be leveraged to support a total of $3 million in research.”

“‘Desalination and other advanced water treatment technologies have the potential to provide new water sources for communities,’ Commissioner Connor said. ‘This research effort will examine innovative technologies that have the potential to reduce the cost of treating brackish water – helping to create new tools for addressing future water challenges.’”

The projects in California selected for funding this year are:
  • Evaluation of a Zero Liquid Discharge Desalination System by Trussell Technologies of Pasadena, Calif.
  • Sephton Water Technology, Inc. of Kensington, Calif., will test a prototype barometric evaporator at the existing pilot facility in Imperial County, Calif., to treat water at the Salton Sea.
  • University of California, Los Angeles has proposed a new technology concept of cyclic reverse osmosis to enable a wide variety of water sources over a wider range of salinities while using optimal energy.

The Bureau of Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States, with operations and facilities in the 17 Western States. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits.

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