With parts of the country running short on fresh water, San Diego is pushing forward on a deceptively simple solution — turning ocean water into drinking water. As Aljazeera America reports, the Carlsbad desalination plant that’s currently under state-approved construction is a $1 billion project to help solve our country’s water shortage.
Parts of the Middle East and Africa already operate large desalination plants, but similar projects are getting some push-back in the states. That’s because desalinating salt water can suck up a lot of energy and hinder less-invasive conservation efforts such as recycling waste water. However, with no end in sight to California’s drought, tapping the resources of the Pacific Ocean is necessary if conditions worsen. “Without doing desalination [and] without having another source of supply, we would clearly have shortages of water,” said Sandy Kerl, deputy general manager of San Diego Water Authority.
Once construction is complete in 2016, the Carlsbad plant will have the capacity to produce 50 million gallons of drinking water per day and provide 300,000 San Diego County residents with locally controlled, fresh drinking water.