Desalination “part of Reclamation’s toolkit”, AMTA told

Commissioner of the US Bureau of Reclamation Mike Connor believes “desalination has to be part of the toolkit” that the bureau uses to address the issue of shrinking water resources in the western United States.

Mike Gabbadon, director of technical services at Reclamation, revealed this to the members of the American Membrane Technology Association, when he addressed the opening session of AMTA’s 2009 annual conference and exposition in Austin, Texas, on 14 July 2009. Gabbadon also told the meeting that AMTA had a strong level of support from the bureau,stressing the linkage Reclamation saw with the association in the future of water management.

The conference could not have arrived in Texas at a more appropriate moment, as Jorge Arroyo, director of special projects for the Texas Water Development Board, pointed out. The state currently has 20 reservoirs below 20% capacity and two are empty or near empty.

Lake Travis is lower than it has ever been in history, said Representative Mark Strama of the Texas House of Representatives, who stood in for Governor Rick Parry at the opening and talked about his speciality, alternative energy. He called for the oil and gas industry to lead the development of new energies not oppose them, stressing that Texas already leads the US in wind energy.

The AMTA meeting, though it has been hit in attendance by travel restrictions imposed on state officials, still topped the 500 mark, and the pre-conference workshops on 13 July 2009 were very well attended and enjoyed by their participants, according to Dr Irving Moch Jr, who chaired the conference committee.

AMTA president Steve Duranceau, who chaired the opening, also introduced Bill Norris, president of NRS Consulting Engineers, now merged with Spain’s Befesa. He told the meeting that the South Central Membrane Association, which was formed only a few years ago in Texas, now has 172 members and has even branched into Oklahoma for a meeting.

The opening concluded with addresses by the winners of the 2008/9 AMTA/NWRI Fellowship, Shane Walker of the University of Texas at Austin, and Evan Hatakeyama, of the University of Colorado.