Desalination

by Daniel Brouse

San Diego County — As drinking water becomes scarcer, desalination will become a rising trend. California is experiencing an extended drought. San Diego County is building a $1 billion desalination plant.

Fresh drinking water will become a larger battle ground as it becomes shorter in supply. Global warming is causing contamination in large fresh water supplies. For example:
Flooding causes sewage treatment plants and other toxic spills to be dispersed.
Droughts cause an obvious shortage of water.
Rising sea water causes salinization. Salt destroys the soil and the drinking water.

San Diego has already seen the need for drinking water. “It was not an easy decision to build this plant,” said Mark Weston, chairman of the agency that supplies water to San Diego County. “But it is turning out to be a spectacular choice. What we thought was on the expensive side 10 years ago is now affordable.”

Since much of the world’s fresh water problems are becoming more severe due to global warming, it is ironic that the plant will use huge amounts of electricity adding to the problem. There is also concern over what the plant will do to sea life. What happens to plants and animals in the 50 million gallons of water a day?

“Our position is that seawater desalination should be the option of last resort,” said Sean Bothwell, an attorney with the California Coastkeeper Alliance, an environmental coalition that has battled California’s turn toward the technology. “We need to fully use all the sustainable supplies that we have available to us first.”

As the sea level rises, more fresh water sources will become brackish at the same time as extreme weather events will cause extraordinary droughts. It’s a fresh water double whammy.

Reference: The New York Times 2015/04/12

UPDATE:

Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant – Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claude_%22Bud%22_Lewis_Carlsbad_Desalination_Plant

The Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant is a desalination plant that opened on December 14, 2015 in Carlsbad, California, adjacent to the north end of the Encina Power Station. The San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA), the recipient of the fresh …. “$1-billion desalination plant, hailed as model for state, opens in Carlsbad”.

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