Water Desalination in California

By: Niki Vanselow & Noelle Kotrly

Desalination Plants Aren't a Good Solution for California Drought: By Michael Hiltzik Written by: Noelle Kotrly

According to the article "Desalination Plants Aren't a Good Solution for California Drought," there are many results to desalination that will hurt the environment. To begin, desalination is a costly process in which ocean water is cleaned into purified drinking water. During this costly, energy consuming process, water is sucked out of the natural ocean by a machine, which can easily kill larval marine organisms. Additionally, after the water is desalinated, the extra salty water is pushed back into the ocean. This new brine is also harmful to organisms and can hurt their natural environment. The article also mentions how the desalination process can further the greenhouse effect. Michael Hiltzik expresses "...moderating the effects of climate change on the region while also contributing to the greenhouse gas emissions that help cause it,” (1). And after all this environmental hurting process, sometimes the drought comes to an end. For example, in Santa Barbara, after spending 34-million on desalination, rain came, and the drought was over. Moreover, the water bills that people have to pay would increase by two dollars ($5 to $7 a month). However, it is not all bad. The desalination process would provide California with a steady water supply to use. This would be a solution to the drought, but as mentioned earlier, with many consequences. Overall, water desalination would be a solution to the drought in California, but there would be many consequences that comes with it.

Can Desalination Counter the Drought? By: Amanda Little Paragraph Written By: Nicole Vanselow

In the article "Can Desalination Counter the Drought?" from the New Yorker, the issue of desalination in California was discussed. First of all, desalination is the process of converting ocean water (salt water) in to pure drinking water. However, only half of the water is converted. The other half containing the salt is released back into the ocean. As some people know, California has been suffering a long drought. Californians consume hundreds of gallons a day, and with such a large population, water supplies are dwindling. As a solution, people have created desalination plants. These plants could end California's long lasting drought. One of these plants in California produces 35 million gallons a minute, turning 50 million gallons of ocean water into drinking water for California's citizens each day. Unfortunately, this miracle solution is not without consequences. First of all, desalination is a very expensive process that costs millions of dollars. If desalination became relied on, then a debt could quite possibly form. Also, desalination has negative effects on the environment. Desalination could eventually cause climate changes, disrupt marine life, and it could even create an even greater drought in the future. If humans continue to use desalination as their main source of water, they will use up the rest of Earth's available water supply and create even more problems. For now, the main option besides desalination is simply conserving and recycling water.In conclusion, although desalination could eliminate California's drought, it does have many future ramifications.

Ways to conserve water and avoid using desalination:

  • Using low flush toilet
  • Only doing full loads of laundry and dishes
  • Taking shorter showers
  • Turning off water when brushing your teeth
  • Using only necessary amounts of water when needed

Video On Desalination

For more information on desalination in California, above is the link to a 4 minute video