Desalination around the world.
Where is the latest desalination plant being built? Brownsville, Texas.
The Brownsville venture got fast-tracked during a period of alarming drought and rapid population growth. From 1990 to 2000, the Brownsville area grew 43 percent to 372,000 people, and the population is expected to approach 500,000 by 2020.
Every drop of the Rio Grande, the river shared by Texas and Mexico, is already accounted for. A plant that purifies brackish groundwater provides enough water to meet about one-fourth of Brownsville’s current peak demand, but groundwater may not last through a long-term drought.
Desalination is “part of the tools in the toolbox” of 4,500 water management strategies in the state’s water plan, Texas Water Development Board spokeswoman Carla Daws said.
“We should never become complacent because of the history of our state having repeated droughts,” she said.
And they mention Israel, too, among the countries pursuing this technology:
About two-thirds of the world’s desalinated water is produced in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and North Africa. Perth, Australia, is looking to meet a third of its fresh water demand by removing salt from sea water.
In March, Israel showed off its plant at the Mediterranean port of Ashkelon that can process 87 million gallons of water a day. Singapore opened a sea water desalination plant in 2005 hoping it will meet at least 10 percent of its water needs. Two months ago, General Electric Co. announced a $220 million contract to build a plant in South Africa.