White Paper Looks at Proposed Ocean Desalination Plants in California

Interest in ocean desalination remains high in California, with 17 projects proposed for development along the California coast, according to the first in a series of white papers by the Pacific Institute.

The paper, “Proposed Seawater Desalination Facilities in California,” summarizes proposed projects around the state and their status as of mid-2012. The paper will be followed other research reports examining issues such as environmental impacts, the cost and financing of proposed projects, energy requirements and greenhouse gas implications.

In addition to the 17 ocean desalination plants proposed today, two facilities that would provide water to Southern California residents are under consideration in Baja, Mexico, according to the paper. The total combined capacity of the proposed plants ranges from 390 million gallons per day (MGD) to 570 MGD, which is about 50 MGD more than was proposed in 2006.

If all of the plants were built and fully utilized, ocean desalination would supply 5% to 7% of average urban water demand in California, the paper says.

While some of the plants under consideration are the same, or similar to, those proposed in 2006, others are entirely new proposals. Plants under consideration in 2006 in Long Beach and Crockett are no longer on the table, according to the paper.

More on the Pacific Institute’s research papers can be found here.