Full Title: Can we afford ocean desalination to double fresh water supply for the coming 13 billion people to live on a hot planet?
Author(s): G. Logan
Publisher(s): G. Logan
Publication Date: June 1, 2007
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Of trend setting it is often said “As California, goes, soon goes the nation”. By extension, one might add “and so goes the world”. Many recent news articles suggest that California may be soon be greatly expanding ocean desalination to supplement coastal city water supplies. One such article by Paul Rogers of the San Jose Mercury News (June 3, 2007) titled “State faces Sea Change to get Drinkable Water” says that “Desalination is costly, but California proposes 20 projects to supply growing need”. Perhaps California is wealthy enough to afford ocean desalination using 10 cents per kWe-hr electricity, but what can the other 6.6 billion people on earth afford, hundreds of millions of whom already don’t have enough clean water to drink?
What happens to them as glaciers melt and global warming progresses? And what about water for food? Anyone who has seen the low levels of Lake Powell and Lake Mead from airplanes can’t help but wonder how agriculture in the US southwest can be sustained for very long-similar situations can be found worldwide.