Key Issues for Desalination in California – Cost and Financing In June 2006, The Pacific Institute released Desalination, With a Grain of Salt, an assessment of the advantages and disadvantages of seawater desalination for California.
At that time, there were an estimated 21 active seawater desalination proposals along the
California coast. Since then, only one project, a small plant in Sand City, has been
permitted and built. A second plant, in Carlsbad, has had all of the necessary permits in
place since 2009 but has not yet secured financing. Interest in seawater desalination,
however, remains high in California and many agencies are conducting technical and
environmental studies and pilot projects to determine whether to develop full-scale
Beginning in 2011, the Pacific Institute initiated a new research project on seawater
desalination. As part of that effort, we conducted some 25 one-on-one interviews with
industry experts, water agencies, community groups, and regulatory agencies to identify
some of the key outstanding issues. Throughout 2012 and 2013, we are producing a series
of research reports that evaluate key outstanding issues for seawater desalination projects
in California. The first report, released in July 2012, provided an update of the proposed
seawater desalination projects along the coast of California. In this report, the second in
the series, we provide detailed information about the cost of seawater desalination
projects, how they are financed, and some of the risks associated with these projects.
Other issues that will be addressed in future reports include the marine impacts of
seawater desalination, the energy requirements and associated greenhouse gas emissions
of desalination, and an overview of the permitting process.
DESALINATION WITH A GRAIN OF SALT – A California Perspective
In this report, The Pacific Institute provides a comprehensive overview of the history, benefits, and risks of ocean desalination, and the barriers that hinder more widespread use of this technology. A set of Conclusions and Recommendations is offered that will help water users and planners interested in making desalination a more significant part of
international, national, and local water policy. The intention is to provide information to help the public and policymakers understand and evaluate the arguments being put forward by both proponents and opponents of the current proposals.
Recommendations for the 2010 Santa Cruz Urban Water Management Plan - A list of alternatives to desalination from the Ecological Landscaping Association, Santa Cruz Desal
Alternatives, the Surfrider Foundation, Transition Santa Cruz, and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF).
Gary Patton and Two Worlds - “We live, simultaneously, in two different worlds. We live in the world of Nature, upon which we are ultimately dependent, and we most immediately inhabit a human world, which we have created ourselves. I hope, in this blog, to explore the interaction of these two worlds that we call home.” – Gary Patton is the Founder and Executive Director of the Community Water Coalition.
Water Commons, Water Citizenship, and Water Security - “The water crisis is largely our own making. It has resulted not from the natural limitations of the water supply or lack of financing and appropriate technologies, even though these are important factors, but rather from profound failures in water governance.” – UNDP on water governance. “What we do to water, we do to ourselves and the ones we love.” – From ‘Popol Vuh’, ancient Mayan book.