Six recommendations to facilitate desalination in California are contained in the draft update to the California Water Plan, which was published online at the end of January 2009.
The plan also contains an examination of the major issues facing desalination and its costs.
The six recommendations are:
On the cost of desalination, the draft plan says, "The higher costs of desalting may, in some cases, be offset by the benefits of increased water supply reliability and/or the environmental benefits from substituting desalination for a water supply with higher environmental costs (eg Carmel River, Monterey Bay area)."
When comparing the cost and impacts of desalination as a water supply option, the plan says that it is important to compare it with the development of other new water supply options.
The plan also comments on the energy consumption of desalination compared with other options: "Even though desalination is energy intensive, other conventional water supply options might in some instances be as energy intensive. At a given point of use, energy intensity of a water supply is the total amount of energy required for its extraction, treatment and conveyance. Energy required for pumping and transporting water over long distances could even be higher than that needed to desalinate local saline waters."
Workshops on the draft will begin later this month and will be scheduled through May 2009. Comments about the draft are due by 5 June 2009.