Sunday, March 2, 2008

Desalination - Backup for the Long Dry

The first large-scale desalination plant in the U.S. recently began operating in Tampa, Florida. With a production capacity of 25 million gallons per day, it's much bigger than the plant currently going through public comment and EIR for my home county of Marin in California, with its initial capacity to produce 5 million gallons per day.

The price comparison: Tampa's plant, $150 million; Marin's, and estimated $115 million. One main difference is that Tampa's plant gets its water from the cooling system of a nearby power plant.

Both locations have gone through extreme water shortages and rationing in the not-too-distant past, and neither has access to backup water supplies. Marin has not yet made the decision to proceed, but has no other alternatives except conservation. Both locations have steadily increased their per capita water usage.

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