Wednesday, July 1, 2015

California Gives Clues to Our Water Future

Since at least the 1960s, California has had a long history of leading the way on environmental policies and best practices in America. So it is no surprise that the drought in California is being talked about as a bellwether event that has implications far beyond its own state borders. Anyone who is interested in what future water policies and practices look like should pay close attention to what is happening in California right now as it struggles with the added burden of a long-standing drought on top of its usual water scarcity issues.

Currently, there are 19 desalinization plants being planned along the California coast, with a plant under construction in Carlsbad. Although some sources criticize desalinization as an expensive way to get fresh water, running out of water is far more costly and harmful. Having less water than you want for a process is a problem. Having no water for vital functions is a disaster.

There are a number of different approaches to desalinization. One of the best methods is by using a reverse osmosis system. Reverse osmosis uses high pressure to force water through a member with very fine pores, thereby removing not only salt but also other minerals and contaminants. The quality of the membrane makes a big difference in the quality of the water.

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