Bill to update US Desalination Act introduced

A bill to fund US government research and development projects into desalination was introduced into the US House of Representatives on 27 July 2011 by California Democrat representative Grace F Napolitano.

The Reauthorization of Water Desalination Act of 2011 would reauthorize the 1996 Desalination Act, allocating US$ 2 million a year up to 2016.

“Desalination is another promising source of water, especially for western states, and these programs deserve federal support,” Napolitano said. “If we can continue to perfect the technologies and bring down the cost of producing new water from the ocean, we will have a reliable, drought-proof source of water and a powerful engine for economic growth. The desalination projects previously funded by these programs have delivered new discoveries since they began in 1996, and they will continue to improve desalination if given proper support.”

Since 1996, says Napolitano, projects or studies have been funded in more than half of the 50 states, with 38 projects being funded in California alone. Some of the programs’ discoveries include

· Determining how to dispose of saline wastewater
· Establishing uniform industry standards for common desalination components
· Funding brackish water projects to desalinate groundwater
· Discovering how to withdraw seawater from below the seafloor to minimize environmental damage
· Developing reverse osmosis membrane pretreatment to improve desalination.