Ag Today January 30, 2018

California water: Desalination projects move forward with new state funding

By PAUL ROGERS | | Bay Area News Group
PUBLISHED: January 29, 2018 at 1:27 pm | UPDATED: January 30, 2018 at 4:31 am

California water officials have approved $34.4 million in grants to eight desalination projects across the state, including one in the East Bay city of Antioch, as part of an effort to boost the water supply in the wake of the state’s historic, five-year drought.

The money comes from Proposition 1, a water bond passed by state voters in November 2014 during the depths of the drought, and it highlights a new trend in purifying salty water for human consumption: only one of the projects is dependent on the ocean.

Instead, six of the winning proposals are for brackish desalination and one is for research at the University of Southern California. In brackish desalination, salty water from a river, bay or underground aquifer is filtered for drinking, rather than taking ocean water, which is often up to three times saltier and more expensive to purify.

“Desalination can play an important role in California’s water future,” said Richard Mills, water recycling and desalination chief for the state Department of Water Resources, which chose the grant winners from 30 applicants.

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