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Desalination Essay

1450 words - 6 pages

Of the world’s entire water supply, 97.5% is saltwater that resides in the ocean. That leaves just 2.5% freshwater and of that, 70% is frozen in glaciers and ice caps. That means only 0.75% of the global supply makes up water for human consumption. There is certainly no shortage of water on this planet, just a shortage of freshwater. The only problem is that the global population is expected to double in size by 2050 and for a state like California with its own water problems, doubling the population is not good news. California is in need of drastic reconstruction of its water supply system and desalination can be a viable resource in supplying clean water to the urban sectors of the state. ...view middle of the document...

“I’ve declared this emergency and I’m calling all Californians to conserve water in every way possible.”
The Sierra Nevada snowpack is the main source of water for California. The state depends on the water sheds in the mountains to supply it with enough water year after year. Most Californians are aware that rain falls in the northern regions of the state and according to the California Department of Water Resources, it is stored and delivered by a system of reservoirs, aqueducts, power plants and pumping plants throughout the state. The water from the rainfall in the north is transported to the urban communities and farms in the south. The interconnected water system is managed by the federal and state governments through the State Water Project and Central Valley Project. Each are responsible for the funding and maintenance of the water projects. However water always has been, and at this point it will remain the most controversial issue in California. Unfortunately for this time of year the Sierra Nevada snowpack is at 12% of its normal level. Todd Ferrara, Deputy Secretary for External Affairs at California Natural Resources Agency has said that, “even if it rained for 40 days and 40 nights, we still wouldn’t have enough water to get out of the current drought conditions.”
Desalination is a great alternative to some of the classic solutions that we have been hearing. In theory desalination is a perfect solution to not only our water crisis but everyone’s water crisis. You take the saline water and turn it in to something useful and valuable as potable water. There are several critical steps to making more of this precious resource, water. Step one, pretreatment. Pretreatment is where the bigger contaminants are sifted out by a series of primary filtration systems. Then chemicals are added to the water so that the remaining biomaterial and pollutants clump together for easier removal. Step two is reverse osmosis (RO). RO is the main part of desalination, without this step the water would have too many micro contaminants to be safe for drinking. RO uses a semi-permeable membrane that catches all of the remaining contaminants when the pretreated water is pushed through at high pressure. The third and final step of desalination is post treatment. Post treatment is where the desalted water has its pH matched to local tap water and added minerals that the local tap water will have. After these three steps the water is now ready to pipe into near-by water districts and transferred to consumers.
Due to California’s high regulatory policies already in place throughout, private ownership of desalination plants and its water is not a position California is likely to take. Instead developing public-private partnerships with private investment companies help California over the large upfront investment costs of developing and maintaining desalination plants. One example is Poseidon Water, the leading U.S. seawater desalination developer, and San...

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