11 17, 2014

Seawater desalination is not the magic answer to the drought in California

LONG BEACH and SAN DIEGO, CA—November 17, 2015—In just a few weeks, America’s largest seawater desalination plant will open, providing the San Diego area with 50 million gallons of drinking water. The billion dollar project is only the second major seawater plant in the nation, with the first foray in Florida widely considered a flop.

Despite its big promise, many experts are fighting heavily over this form of water supply.

Supporters consider seawater desalination a partial answer to drought in the United States. Opponents say high costs and threats to marine life leave better alternatives like recycling and conservation. Our P2S Engineering experts have their own point of view.

We believe in the effort to expand southern California’s water supply portfolio as we cannot be so dependent on the existing resources we have: fact is, we import most of our water resources. The amount of energy expended for water is over three times that of northern California, a majority of which aids in transporting water needs. “From an energy use standpoint we need to find ways of reducing this and diversifying our portfolio,” recommends James Del Monaco, the Sustainability Director of P2S.

For P2S, this plant is not an all-encompassing solution. “What we need is a new sustainable water concept,” Del Monaco adds, questioning whether desalination is the best of use of our economic resources.

Desalination can cost anywhere from two to eight times higher than traditional water sources. “We have to acknowledge that this money also could be spent on fixing the existing infrastructure and the associated leaks, providing incentives to change out lower flow fixtures, or educating the community on ways to reduce water use,” states Del Monaco. In addition to the financial implications, the lawmakers need to commission further studies which address the impact to the environment and ocean life. P2S Engineering aims to provide the expertise required to save the state’s ecosystem, as well as secure the basic needs of its inhabitants.