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Desalination News January-June 2006

 

June, 2006

San Diego County Water Authority delays decision on desalination plant

The San Diego County Water Authority board delayed a decision on whether to approve a large-scale ocean-water desalination project on the Carlsbad coast after directors said yesterday they needed more time to study the proposal. The delay sidestepped a possible conflict between the water authority and the owner of the Encina Power Station, where the desalination plant would be built. David Lloyd, an executive with power-plant operator Cabrillo Power – a subsidiary of NRG Energy – told the board during the meeting in San Diego that the 10.6-acre site selected by the authority for the desalination project is occupied by two large oil tanks. He said the tanks are rarely used but must constantly be ready so the power plant can operate during an emergency and the county desalination plan would remove both tanks. He said the proposal also might conflict with the power station's future plans to build a new power-generating plant. The water authority is proposing a 50 million-gallon-a-day desalination project that would tap the stream of seawater the power station uses to cool its electrical generators. A private company, Poseidon Resources Inc., has a parallel proposal to build a 50 million-gallon-a-day plant on the power station's grounds, but its project would replace an unused fuel tank. Poseidon has a lease with Cabrillo Power to build and operate the plant, and the city of Carlsbad has approved an environmental impact report for that project. The authority and Poseidon have been negotiating for six years to merge their proposals but have not agreed on a price the authority would pay to buy out Poseidon. San Diego Union-Tribune_ 6/23/06

Work begins on Moss Landing, California, pilot desalination plant

The small pilot plant is a test run for a bigger facility that is expected to supply water to the Monterey Peninsula, help protect the region from drought and restore the Carmel River. The large plant is expected to be completed in 2010. AP/KSBW_ 6/22/06

Carlsbad, California, desalination plan moving forward--with questions

A plan that would turn seawater from Carlsbad's coast into drinking water appears to be finally on its way to the California Coastal Commission for a permit that would pave its way for construction. But the plan is still confusing. Last week, Connecticut-based Poseidon, Inc. said it would apply to the coastal commission for a permit ---- with the city of Carlsbad ---- to build a plant that would turn 50 million gallons of seawater a day into drinking water. But Poseidon also said it would continue talks ---- to build the same plant ---- with the regional San Diego County Water Authority, even as it submits its Carlsbad application. Coastal Commission officials, meanwhile, hinted they would want to know just who is buying what before it approved any permit. The seeming riddle marked just the latest twist in the long-twisting saga of the proposed desalination plant, which would be built at the Encina Power Plant in Carlsbad. North County Times_ 6/17/06

Marin County, California, ends test of pilot desalination plant on San Francisco Bay
Workers are dismantling a $1 million pilot water desalination plant, and the results from water samples it produced could determine whether bay water will one day flow from taps in Marin homes. "People are drinking the stuff and people say it's OK," said Jack Gibson, president of the Marin Municipal Water District's board of directors. "We are confident we can turn bay water into potable drinking water. Now we need to know how much it costs." The future of desalination in Marin could be better known by mid-August or early September, when the water district receives a report from its staff and consultants on the feasibility of pulling water from the bay for household use. Marin Independent Journal_ 6/17/06

More problems and more money for Tampa Bay, Florida, desalination plant

Interviews with Ronda Storms, Hillsborough Commissioner and Koni Cassini, Tampa Water. At issue is the time schedule to the the troubled plant working and a $150,000 incentive to speed repairs. WTSP 10 Tampa Bay_ 6/16/06

California's DWR recommends $21.5 million in water desalination grants
The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) Staff is recommending that 23 water desalination projects be awarded $21.5 million in Proposition 50 grants.The funds will be used by local agencies, water districts, academic and research institutions for construction, demonstration projects, research and development, and feasibility studies to increase the development of new water supplies using water desalination technologies.  The projects recommended for funding include desalination facilities in the San Francisco Bay Area and in Monterey and Ventura counties. Pilot projects in Long Beach, Los Angeles, Contra Costa County, Kern County, and Imperial County are among those nominated to receive funds under this cycle of the desalination grants program. Research activities at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the University of California, Los Angeles, and the Colorado School of Mines are included in the proposed awards, as are feasibility studies by agencies in the San Luis Obispo and San Diego counties.  Funding for the projects is available through Proposition 50, the Water Security, Clean Drinking Water, Coastal and Beach Protection Act passed by California voters in 2002. dBusinessNews_6/15/06

Carlsbad, California OKs desalination plant; project faces permit hurdles
The City Council unanimously approved an ocean-water desalination plant last night, putting it in the forefront of a controversial technology designed to protect the city from droughts. The council said the privately proposed plant would provide a reliable source of water, producing 50 million gallons a day.   City staff members said desalinated seawater would provide 72 percent of Carlsbad's supply under the city's agreement with Poseidon Resources Inc., which proposes to build the plant. Several representatives of environmental groups spoke against the plant, including the Sierra Club and the Surfrider Foundation. Their chief objection was that by wedding the desalination to the Encina Power Station, the project may prolong the life of the electricity-generating plant, which kills thousands of fish and small marine organisms in its cooling process. San Diego Union-Tribune 6/14/06

Germany's KfW IPEX-Bank finances US$738 million purchase of Bahrain water desalination and power project, nation's largest-ever privatisation project

KfW IPEX-Bank together with other banks is lead
arranger for the financing of the purchase of the Al Hidd independent
water and power project (IWPP) in Bahrain. The selling for USD 738
million is the biggest privatisation project in the country's
history. It has been bought by a consortium of International Power
plc., Suez and Sumitomo, which will sell power and water back to the
government for 20 years. The consortium will also install an
additional desalination plant, taking total project costs to USD
1,250 million. The commercial debt financing was arranged and structured by KfW
IPEX-Bank as technical and insurance bank together with six
international banks. KfW Bankengruppen_ 6/8/06

Drop Sydney desalination plan: parliamentary committee

The building of a desalination plant in Sydney would be unnecessary if better water recycling strategies were adopted, a New South Wales parliamentary committee has found. The report into sustainable water supply for Sydney has recommended the Government remove the Kurnell desalination plant's critical infrastructure status, saying if the city better recycles greywater, sewage and stormwater, there will no need for the plant. Plans for the desalination plant were recently put on the backburner after widespread protest, but the Government has said if dam levels fall below 30 per cent then it will proceed with the plant. AAP.news.com.au_ 6/8/06

China develops low-cost solar desalination device

A new solar power collection and heating device could be used to turn salt water into fresh water at an unprecedented low cost, researchers said yesterday in Nanjing, capital of East China's Jiangsu Province. The new invention was developed by scientists at the School of New Materials and New Energy in Hehai University (HHU) and Nanjing Fiberglass Research and Design Institute. According to Zhou Ningyu, a senior engineer with HHU, the new desalinating device consists primarily of a heliostat, which absorbs solar power and turns it into heat. The heat is then used to bring water to boiling point, and when vaporization occurs the salt becomes separated. According to Zhou, the country currently has 20 desalination projects, which mainly use osmosis and electronic distilling technologies. A special heliostat, invented by a scientist in the team, costs only a quarter of the normal price but still generates the same amount of energy, Zhou told China Daily. Zhou did not reveal the exact cost for fresh water production, but said it would definitely be much lower than the current technologies, which cost about 5-8 yuan (US$0.62-1) per cubic metre. The water distilled by the new device meets the standard for drinking water and could be used in local houses, according to Zhou. People's Daily_ 6/8/06

Updated U.S. desalination roadmap nears completion

Sandia National Laboratories researchers Pat Brady and Tom Hinkebein are putting the final touches on the updated Desalination and Water Purification Roadmap -- "Roadmap 2" -- that should result in more fresh water in parts of the world where potable water is scarce. The first roadmap identified overall goals and areas of desalination research and was submitted to Congress in 2003. The task force consists of the Bureau of Reclamation, the WaterReuse Foundation, the American Water Works Association Research Foundation and Sandia. The roadmap will recommend specific areas of potential water desalination research and development that may lead to technological solutions to water shortage problems. Only 0.5 percent of Earth's water is directly suitable for human consumption. The rest is composed of saltwater or locked up in glaciers and icecaps. As the world's population grows, the increased water demand will have to come from someplace. Brackish water seems to be a natural source, Hinkebein says. Roadmap 2 will outline the specific research needed in high-impact areas to create more fresh water from currently undrinkable brackish water, from seawater, and from wastewater. It will ensure that different organizations are not duplicating research. Brady says 43 research areas have been tentatively identified and some projects are already under way.

The 43 research areas in Roadmap 2 include the following:

* Membrane technologies (mainly reverse osmosis) that desalinate and purify water by pushing it through a semipermeable membrane that removes contaminants.

* Alternative technologies that take advantage of nontraditional methods.

* Concentrate management technologies that consider the disposal and/or beneficial use of desalination waste streams.

* Reuse/recycling technologies that look at ways membrane and alternative technologies can be used to more efficiently recycle water. Sandia press release/EurekaAlert_ 6/6/06

May, 2006

Namibia: Plans for desalination plant at coast back on

After much hype in the late '90s that water utility NamWater would build one, nothing came of it and after 2001, the project was shelved. At a breakfast meeting on water conservation and management hosted by the Namibia Economic Society (NES) on Wednesday, NamWater CEO Vaino Shivute said the project was back on. In 2000, the plant was estimated to cost N$100 million. Shivute said although recent flooding in the Kuiseb River would help recharge aquifers, these resources would not be enough to sustain the needs of the coast in the long term. The Namibian_ 5/26/06

Towns on Australia's Central Coast look to portable desalination for drought relief

Plans to install as many as 20 mobile desalination plants along the Central Coast have split Gosford and Wyong councils as the two shires struggle to solve their water shortage. Wyong Council believes the mobile units, which could cost as much as $90,000 a month to lease, are a better option than building a permanent and much larger $60 million desalination plant. But Gosford Council has delayed any decision by the two shires, which share water resources and infrastructure, calling for more information on the idea. The Central Coast is facing a water shortage far more dire than Sydney's. In the face of a prolonged drought, Gosford's biggest dam, the Mangrove Creek Dam, is now down to 17 per cent capacity and water supply is falling by about 1 per cent a month. Sydney Morning Herald_ 5/24/06

Public scrutiny of desalination plan to supply London, England during droughts

Plans to build the UK's first plant which would turn salt water into drinking water are to be scrutinised at a public inquiry. Mayor Ken Livingstone overturned Newham Council's approval for the desalination unit in Beckton, saying the energy used would add to global warming. But Thames Water said the plant is essential to cater for London's needs. The inquiry is being held at City Aviation House in east London and is expected to last about five weeks. If the £200m plant gets the go-ahead it would not be ready until 2009 at the earliest, which Mr Livingstone said is too late. He also believes Thames Water should be spending their resources on fixing leaks in the existing water network and reducing demand for water by installing water-saving devices and educating customers. BBC News_ 5/23/06

Gulf of Mexico pilot desalination plant to begin operating in late summer at Port of Brownsville, Texas

The project will help engineers and officials determine the feasibility of building a large-scale seawater desalination plant in the region, said John Bruciak, director of the Brownsville Public Utilities Board. The Brownsville pilot plant will be the first in Texas. The Laguna Madre Water District also is planning to build a smaller desalination plant on South Padre Island. Water officials have long worried whether the Rio Grande — the Rio Grande Valley’s primary water source — will be able to keep up with the area’s population growth. The Texas Water Development Board is funding the Brownsville project with a $1.3 million grant. The Monitor_ 5/22/06

Desalination plants for India's coastal cities

The government on Friday said it was in the process of setting up desalination plants in coastal cities to meet demands of the local people. Ocean development minister Kapil Sibal told the Lok Sabha in a written reply that National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) had demonstrated desalination technology for conversion of sea water into potable water based on low temperature thermal desalination system. 4th item Financial Express/Sulekha.com_ 5/20/06

Nanotube membrane on a silicon chip the size of a quarter may offer cheaper desalination

Researchers at California's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory were able to measure flows of liquids and gases by making a membrane on a silicon chip with carbon nanotube pores making up the holes of the membrane. The membrane is created by filling the gaps between aligned carbon nanotubes with a ceramic matrix material. The pores are so small that only six water molecules could fit across their diameter. Salt removal from water, commonly performed through reverse osmosis, uses less permeable membranes, requires large amounts of pressure and is quite expensive. However, the more permeable nanotube membranes could reduce the energy costs of desalination by up to 75 percent compared to conventional membranes used in reverse osmosis. The research appears on the cover of the May 19 edition of the journal Science. Press Release_ 5/18/06

Swansea, Rhode Island's desalination plant gets the green light

After much controversy, the Swansea Water District's Desalination Project was approved Monday night by voters at the water district's annual meeting. Those in attendance voted to appropriate $6,400,000 for the construction of the water treatment facility. The money was expected to be borrowed from the state's revolving fund at an interest rate of 2 percent. Voters also approved the appropriation of $1,635,000 to cover the desal project's expenses for the coming fiscal year, including pilot tests, a river sampling program and the obtaining of permits. Another appropriation of $11,600,000 for the construction of the actual desalination facility, also passed. To cover costs associated with the project, the water district had proposed an article to petition the state legislature to amend Chapter 137 Acts of 1949, allowing the district to borrow a total of up to $30,000,000 from the state, instead of the current $10,000,000 limit. East Bay Newspapers_ 5/12/06

Australian environment group commends New South Wales water recycling plan

The Premier of New South Wales, Morris Iemma, has announced a plan he says will protect the water supply of Australia's biggest city for the next 10 years. The Government had been accused of not doing enough to safeguard Sydney's water supply, with only enough water left in its dams to supply the city for two years without rain. Today a key environment group has welcomed the plan's new recycling measures. But the State Opposition says the plan offers no new water-saving ideas. transcript and audio The World Today/ABC radio_ 5/8/06

Spain seeks bids on 82 million euro desalination plant

Spain's state-owned water company Acuamed said on Friday it was seeking offers from companies interested in building an 82 million euro (US$103 million) desalination plant in Almeria in southeastern Spain. The tender is to build and operate the plant for 15 years.
The plant is one of nine that Acuamed, part of the Environment Ministry, plans to put out to tender by the end of June, and will provide water for irrigation and for human consumption. It is part of a plan to build 26 desalination plants between 2005 and 2009 to ease water shortages along Spain's Mediterranean coast. Spain suffered the worst drought on record in the 2004/2005 hydrological year. Reuters/Planet Ark_ 5/1/06

Seven million Londoners could face water curbs

Seven million people in London face water rationing this summer if it is hot and dry, or next summer if the winter turns out to be the third with below average rainfall, Thames Water said yesterday. The Thames valley is 18 months into a drought and its population and consumption are growing. A public inquiry next month will decide whether Thames should be allowed to build a £200 million desalination plant at Beckton, east London. The inquiry was set up when Thames appealed against the decision of Ken Livingstone, the mayor of London, to refuse permission for the plant. Mr Livingstone says the plant would be "energy-guzzling" and increase carbon emissions. He believes that it would be unnecessary if Thames were to tackle its extraordinary levels of leakage - the highest in the country - and persuade more of its customers to save water. Thames Water's reservoirs are almost full and it has banned the use of garden hoses and the washing of cars. But it relies on reservoirs for only a third of supplies and for the rest on ground water - now very low - and what it can take from the river at times of high rainfall. London receives less rain than Dallas, Istanbul and Rome and 55 per cent of all that falls is used, a rate exceeded only in the world's driest places, such as Israel and Jordan. Daily Telegraph_ 5/2/06

April, 2006

Altela acquires licensing rights for water purification technology

Desalination application
Altela Inc. has acquired the licensing rights to a water purification technology developed at Arizona State University in Tempe.  The license gives Altela, a leading desalination product and service company in Albuquerque, the right to develop and commercialize the "dewvaporation" water desalination technology developed by Arizona Technology Enterprises (AzTE), ASU's technology commercialization company.  Altela plans on incorporating the technology into its AltelaRain water desalination system. It is currently being used by customers to remove contaminants from water co-produced as a result of oil and natural gas production.  The company considers the market for the technology to be in the multi-billion dollar range because it reduces a user's high disposal costs and environmental liability when reinjecting the water back into the ground or into large storage pits, while producing clean water assets.  Altela CEO Ned Godshall said in a written statement that the commercial license will allow his firm to grow its desalination technology applications in other markets where producing fresh, drinkable water is a challenge. New Mexico Business Weekly_4/27/06

Spain's Acuamed taps sea for clean water

Adrian Baltanas's job as director general of Acuamed, a state company set up by Spain's Socialist government, is to find an alternative to the previous conservative government's plan to divert water from the Ebro river to Spain's parched southeast. Acuamed has a budget of 3 billion euros ($3.7 billion) and instructions to carry out most of its program by 2009, Baltanas told Reuters on Tuesday. Half the water will come from desalination plants, and the rest from recycling waste water and from savings achieved by modernizing irrigation systems. Spain's Mediterranean coast, which stretches from the French border in the northeast to the Strait of Gibraltar in the south, is naturally dry in contrast to the wet, fertile north. It is also the home of much of the population, the destination of many of the country's 50 million tourists and where there is most sunshine for growing fruit and vegetables. All that adds up to a big water shortage. Reuters_ 4/25/06

New desalination plant for Murcia, Spain

The spokesman for the regional government in Murcia, Fernando de la Cierva, has said today that with the approval for the construction of the new La Azohía e Isla Plana desalination plant in Cartagena, the Murcia region will soon be treating more water than either California or Israel. 25% of the desalinated water in Spain is created in Murcia and if that from Valencia is added the percentage rises to 50%. TypicallySpanish.com_ 4/21/06

Brownsville, Texas gets OK for first Texas coast desalination plant

By August the Brownsville Public Utilities Board should be pumping sea-water from the Gulf of Mexico for drinking water thanks to a $1.3 million state grant approved on Monday. The Texas Water Development Board approved the plan for a pilot desalination plant on the Brownsville Ship Channel. It will be the first desalination plant on the Texas coast to process seawater. Already Brownsville has a $30 million desalination plant that opened last year that filters brackish groundwater. Analysis conducted in the past estimated a plant that processes about 25 million gal-lons a day would cost $150 million, but that did not account for fluctuating prices in construction and energy resources. Brownsville Herald_ 4/18/06

A long, dry summer awaits Kuwait residents; desalination is critical to water supplies

Sources at the Ministry of Energy expect water shortages in the summertime and are already warning residents to reduce their daily consumption. Manager Eng. Muneer Al-Ramadan said that the problem is difficult to resolve and will not be avoided unless citizens and expats cooperate with the state. Eng. Al-Ramadan recalled last year's problems of water shortage and the weakness in water pumping in some areas and high buildings, which forced the ministry to arrange for the strategic storage of water. He called upon all concerned to remember that Kuwait has very little natural water and therefore must rely on seawater that has been treated to make it suitable for consumption. He argues that Kuwait has one of the highest rates of water consumption anywhere, and this is mainly due to over-consumption and carelessness in the use of water, reported Al-Rai Al-Aam. Kuwait's hyper-arid climate and few natural water resources require it to rely heavily on desalination and imports for almost all of its fresh water supplies. The country's annual rainfall of about 4.3 inches doesn't even begin to satisfy the 2.4 million residents needs for fresh water. Kuwait Times_ 4/16/06

Desalination could end Swansea, Massachusetts, water woes

The last major hurdle in the town’s proposed construction of New England’s first municipal desalination facility has been crossed, according to Water District Superintendent Robert Marquis. The proposed desalination plant aims to alleviate the town’s water shortages by transforming 2.2 million gallons of salt water from the Palmer River into 1.2 million gallons of drinkable water each day. Swansea’s proposal would make it not only the first municipal desalination project in New England but only the fourth on the East Coast. The closest plant is in Cape May, N.J. At an estimated total cost of $18 million, Marquis said the plant would be funded by a 20-year low interest loan through the state’s revolving fund. Herald News_ 4/14/06

Florida study skeptical of Port St. John desalination plant unless it is scaled back

A large desalination plant near Port St. John would make the Indian River Lagoon so salty that up to 30 percent of the widgeon seagrass might vanish, a group of environmental consultants concluded recently. But the consultants, hired by St. Johns River Water Management District, also say a smaller plant that draws less lagoon water at one or both of the power plants along U.S. 1 still is feasible. The study, led by Applied Technology and Management Inc. of Gainesville, examined the impact of building one or two desalination plants that would draw from 5 million to 60 million gallons daily at one or both the Reliant Energy or Florida Power and Light Co. power plants. The plants were proposed because the Water Management District is studying alternative water sources as the area continues to grow as a way to take pressure off the existing groundwater sources. Draw too much groundwater, and the chain reaction could damage or destroy wetlands and other habitat, officials say. Any plant over 20 million gallons a day would make the lagoon too salty over a broad area, not just within the immediate discharge zones of the power plants, the consultants found. Florida Today_ 4/4/06

Desalination research could 'drought-proof' West Texas towns, businesses

West Texas is awash in crude oil while water is a precious and perplexing commodity. In fact, in the 1930s, it's said a barrel of water sold for 10 times the amount of a barrel of crude oil. Many of the Permian Basin's oil wells produce water along with oil or natural gas, forcing operators to pay large sums to have it trucked away or otherwise disposed of. At the same time, West Texas communities are looking at ways to ensure plentiful supplies of water for their residents. David Burnett, director of technology at the Global Petroleum Research Institute at Texas A&M and his colleagues think they are nearing a solution to both problems, and their work has earned them the Hearst Energy Award for Technology. Burnett and his colleagues are focused on the desalination of the brackish brine water so plentiful in West Texas and are on the verge of developing a desalination unit small enough for small communities to afford or for a rancher to operate to ensure his livestock have plenty to drink during times of drought, all for about the cost of maintaining a swimming pool. Midland Reporter-Telegram_ 4/2/06

San Diego County desalination plant wouldn't harm sea life, draft impact report says

An ocean water desalination plant would not harm sea life by discharging concentrated saltwater offshore, according to a draft environmental impact report prepared by the San Diego County Water Authority. It's the second study of a seawater desalination project proposed for San Diego's coast. The first study, conducted by Poseidon Resources Inc., which proposes a privately owned plant that would desalinate 50 million gallons a day of seawater on the grounds of the Encina Power Station, reached similar conclusions. The County Water Authority's environmental impact report is independent of Poseidon's and studies the project as if the authority was the developer. Connecticut-based Poseidon and the authority have been negotiating for years to operate such a plant. San Diego Union-Tribune_ 4/1/06

March, 2006

Singapore firm Hyflux to set up desalination plants in Gujarat

The plants are expected to be set up in industrial clusters like Vapi, Ankleshwar, Vatva-Naroda, Jetpur and others, helping the industries to recycle waste water. Such desalination plants could also treat water from the river Narmada which will be supplied for domestic use through pipelines across the state, it said. Hyflux-Singapore has set up similar water desalination plants in China, Malyasia and Singapore. newKerala.com_ 3/31/06

California's Moss Landing pilot desalination plant gets go-ahead from Monterey County

The Pajaro-Sunny Mesa Community Services District announced it received a coastal administrative permit and design approval from Monterey County to install and operate a pilot desalination facility for data collection and public education purposes. The pilot plant is designed to support the development, permitting, design and implementation of the proposed full-scale desalination plant. The permit is valid for up to three years. The district's board also filed an application for a grant from the Water Security, Clean Drinking Water, Coastal and Beach Protection Act of 2002 to help fund the pilot plant. In July 2005, the district announced a public-private partnership with Poseidon Resources Corp. to permit, build and operate a desalination plant to serve customers in Monterey County and adjacent areas. The proposed Moss Landing desalination plant will produce 20 million to 25 million gallons per day of high-quality drinking water. Santa Cruz Sentinel_ 3/31/06

Oxnard, California, city council approves $60 million in bonds for groundwater desalination plant

Construction will start this summer in Oxnard on a desalination facility after the City Council agreed this week to issue $60 million worth of bonds to finance the project and other water-treatment improvements. Council members voted unanimously for the bonds after receiving assurances that residents' existing water rates would cover the 30 years of bond repayments plus ongoing water operations and maintenance. The city also is seeking state and federal grants for the project. Construction will commence this summer. The Oxnard plant eventually will desalinate about 15 million gallons of groundwater a day, but not ocean water. Desalination dates to the fourth century B.C., when ancient Greek sailors used an evaporation process to treat sea water. The first commercial plant opened on the island of Malta in 1881. More than 11,000 such plants now operate worldwide, with about 60 percent in the Middle East. More than 40 facilities desalinate brackish water in California and another 35 are expected to open in the next decade, Karajeh said. Sixteen facilities in California desalinate ocean water, with another 19 in the pipeline, said  Fawzi Karajeh, chief of water recycling and desalination for the state's Department of Water Resources. Ventura County Star_ 3/30/06

Persian Gulf states 'must stop wasting water': UN official

Bahrain's only natural resource is desalinated water, but its long term effects on health and the environment are still unknown, said United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) regional office for West Asia (ROWA) director and regional representative Dr Habib El Habr. A "culture" of conservation must be developed and matched with moves to limit pollution and manage demand, he added. Dr El Habr was speaking on the occasion of UN World Water Day. The scarcity of water is described as a major issue in the Middle East. "The only resource we have left is desalinated water - but this is at a cost," he said. "It means we really have to take care of this water." MANARA/Gulf Daily News_ 3/23/06

GE to buy Canada's Zenon Environmental desal company for $656 million

The deal will accelerate General Electric Co.'s plans to tap into a fast growing market in a thirsty world, company officials said Tuesday. GE's acquisition of Zenon Environmental Inc. will provide technology to help convert seawater into drinking water and to reuse waste water from municipalities and industry, company officials said. "We think it will position us as the leader and the lowest cost producer of fresh water from these new sources," said Colin Sabol, chief marketing officer for GE Water and Process Technologies. "We'll be able to make fresh water less expensively than anyone in the world." GE is helping build one of the world's largest water desalination plants in Algeria. Zenon makes advanced membranes for water purification, wastewater treatment and water reuse. The company pioneered the use of technology for water and wastewater treatment that is spreading rapidly throughout the world, company officials said. GE's water business, now $2.1 billion, is expected to grow to about $2.5 billion next year and $5 billion in five years, Sabol said. GE expects to use the new technology in water-thirsty countries such as China, India and Australia. AP/Forbes_ 3/14/06

Towns on South Africa's North Coast may get desalted sea water

Kwazulu-Natal is planning to harvest drinking water from the sea for the first time by installing two multimillion-rand desalination plants on the rapidly developing North Coast. The larger of the two plants, a R50 million (US$8 million) sea water desalination facility, is proposed for the Blythedale Coastal Resort, north of Ballito, and would provide up to eight million litres of water a day for 4,000 resort homes. Umgeni Water is also driving plans to build a smaller pilot plant at Zinkwazi to provide up to one million litres of water a day to the growing holiday town which still relies on groundwater. Although desalination plants have traditionally been restricted to all but the driest nations for cost reasons, local experts say the price of turning salty sea water into drinking grade water has dropped significantly and the adoption of this technology is becoming increasingly viable for some parts of South Africa. The Mercury_ 3/10/06

February, 2006

Huntington Beach, California approves largest U.S. desalination plant; state OK still needed

A controversial proposal to build what would be the largest desalination plant in the nation along the Huntington Beach coastline was approved after months of raucous debate. The Huntington Beach City Council voted 4 to 3 to approve permits for Poseidon Resources Corp. to build a $250-million desalination facility next to the AES power station on Pacific Coast Highway at the city's southern edge. The desalination plant would produce as much as 50 million gallons of fresh water daily by tapping ocean water already pumped into the power station to cool the huge electrical facility. Most of the water would be sold to as yet unknown buyers, though Huntington Beach agreed to buy a modest amount — 3.2 million gallon a day — at a rate less than what it now pays for imported water from the Metropolitan Water District. About a third of the city's water is imported; the rest comes from groundwater. The close vote was a huge victory for Poseidon, a small, privately held firm based in Connecticut that has fought for two years to build a landmark desalination plant on the Southern California coast. The company's plant in Tampa Bay, Fla. — half the size of the one approved by Huntington Beach — was taken over by a public water agency and has been beset with financial and technical problems. Another Poseidon facility proposed in Carlsbad is expected to go before a City Council vote in May. Los Angeles Times_ 2/28/06 (logon required)

Seawater desalination to relieve China's water shortage

The biggest seawater desalination factory in Asia is under construction in the Dagang District of China's Tianjing City. It's expected to handle 150,000 tons of water a day. According to statistics, there are 1.4 billion people in the world that are in short of safe and clean drinking water, and every one out of five people are lack of water; water crisis is becoming a global topic. China is regarded by the UN as one of the thirteen water-deficient countries in the world: there are 300 cities suffering from water shortage, among which 110 cities are extremely lack of water, mainly located in North China, North East China, North West China and coastal regions. The severe shortage of water resources has become an important factor that restricts the economic and social development of China, especially the coastal regions. Today, developing the seawater (including brackish water) desalination technology has become a consensus of all the countries in the world to solve the water crisis. There have been over 13,000 sea water desalination factories in the world with a production capacity of 35 million cubic meter fresh water per day, 80 percent of which is used for drinking. This has solved the water supply problem for over 100 million people. In China, there have been more than 20 sea water desalination projects, among which Shandong Huangdao Power Plant, Hebei Huanghua Power Plant, the No.7 Petroleum Factory of China Petroleum Dalian Petrochemical Corporation, Tianjin Economic-technological Development Area, Shandong Yantai City and Hebei Wangtan Power Plant are relatively large-scale sea water desalination enterprises that have put into production and will put into production; the accumulative production capacity of these projects have reached around 30,000 tons per day now. China's sea water desalination equipment enjoys relatively strong international competitiveness due to its perfect technology and relatively low price. Ruan Guoling, Director of The Institute of Sea Water Desalination and Multipurpose Utilization, SOA (Tianjin), introduced that the price of China's technological equipment is about 50 percent lower than that of foreign equipment, enjoying obvious advantages with promising market prospect. China Economic Net_ 2/28/06

Israel weighing desalination R and D

The government will discuss a proposal that would allot several hundred million shekels over the next three years to strengthening Israel's position as an exporter of water desalination technology, Israel Radio reported. A Makorot official said in an interview that the water technologies market could reach some $400 billion a year due to the increasing international lack of potable water. Within 15 years, the world could face a lack of as much as 32 percent in the total amount of drinking water needed. Israel's annual water technologies exports stand at some two billion dollars, the report added. Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (formerly Industry, Trade, and Labor Minister) and German technology giant Siemens AG agreed in October to establish a joint team of experts to study ways to increase collaboration in developing water technologies between Siemens and Israeli industry. Jerusalem Post_ 2/25/06

Desalination to give Australian community water
A $300 million plan for a desalination plant to supply water to Olympic Dam could also be the answer to Eyre Peninsula's water woes. Premier Mike Rann signed a Memorandum of Understanding with BHP Billiton last week to investigate the feasibility of a plant at Port Bonython (north of Whyalla), which would supply water for BHP's $400 million Olympic Dam expansion. Mr Rann said Eyre Peninsula water users could have access to the desalinated water through the 90-kilometre pipeline from Iron Knob to Kimba, construction of which is expected to be started shortly. Water in the pipeline is expected to come from the River Murray when it is commissioned in 2007 until the desalination plant is up and running. Mr Rann said the plant would make a major contribution to improving the health and sustainability of the River Murray. Eyre Peninsula Tribune_2/23/06

South Australian Government up-beat about Whyalla desalination plant

Officials say it is the best solution to help the Lower Eyre Peninsula's water shortage. The plant will be built by BHP to supply water to the Olympic Dam mine in the state's north, but it says the plant could also supply water to the region. The Liberal Member for Flinders, Liz Penfold, says a plant at Ceduna would be a better option for supplying Eyre Peninsula with water, and she says the Whyalla plant does nothing to help the water shortage in the short-term. "Now it's going to be at least seven years before it's even in place. Even if it gets through all the environmental issues." ABC.net.au_ 2/20/06

World Health Organization's Steering Committee for Safer Water to meet in Grand Cayman

The Water Authority Cayman will host the second meeting of the WHO Steering Committee on the Preparation of Desalination Guidelines for Safe Water Supply. The meeting will be held March 12th through the 16th. Radio Cayman_ 2/19/06

Apparel giant Brandix Lanka commissions desalination plant for Sri Lanka village

In keeping with their outreach initiative "Water is Life" to provide safe drinking water for those most in need, Brandix commissioned a Rs 4 million desalination plant for the people of Rajapakshapura to provide potable water. Prior to this, this community has had to pay between Rs 3000/- to 4000/- a month per family to obtain water that is safe for drinking. The village of 450 families never has had a safe drinking water supply. GAP, Inc, one of the world's largest specialty retailers and the single largest apparel buyer out of Sri Lanka, is partnering with Brandix in this initiative. According to the Water Resources Board, the quality of water in Rajapakshapura was not suitable for drinking due to the high content of calcium, iron, chloride and sulphate. Asia Tribune_ 2/9/06

New South Wales, Australia minister Carl Scully to lose water portfolio

Scully is expected to be relieved of his utilities portfolio following plans to scrap Sydney's desalination plant. NSW Premier Morris Iemma will announce his much anticipated cabinet reshuffle in the next two weeks, The Daily Telegraph reports. Mr Iemma's new-look team will see Mr Scully focus exclusively on the trouble area of police, with his old portfolio tipped to be handed to Eric Roozendaal, who is currently working on ports and waterways, the paper said. AAP/News.com.au_ 2/8/06

Aqua Dyne to test solar-powered mine water desalination in Australia

Aqua Dyne, a thermal desalination specialist, and the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industry Research Organisation (CSIRO) also will study the treatment of acid mine leachate. The Aqua Dyne JetWater system design allows it to be used for a wide range of desalination requirements ranging from seawater, brackish groundwater and remediation of industrial wastewater, as well as the ability to co-generate with a variety of industrial plant and equipment. Aqua Dyne will deploy the system adjacent to Lake Liddell in the Upper Hunter region of New South Wales, Australia. The module will be connected to a solar energy system developed and supplied by Solar Heat & Power Pty Ltd of Singleton, NSW Australia. In the western U.S., according to the release, the Forest Service estimates that between 20,000 and 50,000 mines are currently generating acid on Forest Service lands, and that drainage from these mines is impacting between 8,000 and 16,000 kilometers of streams (U.S. Forest Service 1993). In addition to the acid contamination to surface waters, acid mine drainage (AMD) may cause metals such as arsenic, cadmium, copper, silver, and zinc to leach from mine wastes. The Solar / Thermal JetWater system will demonstrate an environmental and economically sustainable solution to remediate wastewater streams. RenewableEnergyAccess.com_ 2/8/06

Groundwater find puts Australian desalination plant on hold

The New South Wales Government has put its plans for a controversial desalination plant on hold following the discovery of new underground water sources. The new find could boost Sydney's diminishing drinking water supply but officials said it was too soon to be sure. The find almost matches the amount that would have been produced by the Kurnell Plant if it went ahead. ABC News.au_ 2/8/06

January, 20006

Oceano Community Services District in California's San Luis Obispo County, joins desalination study

Last summer, Arroyo Grande, Grover Beach and OCSD hired the Wallace Group to weigh the options of participating in the Nacimiento Water Pipeline project and constructing a desalination plant. The study recommends desal as the best option for the three communities' future water needs, and further research to determine the feasibility of building a plant. Last week, the OCSD board of directors unanimously agreed to join the neighboring cities and apply for Proposition 50 funds, which have a cap of $250,000. The study also recommends that if a plant were to be constructed, the logical location is next to the South San Luis Obispo County Sanitation District Wastewater Treatment Plant in Oceano. Brine from the desalination process could be disposed of using the existing outfall line. Steve Tanaka, Wallace Group director of water resources, said developing the next study wouldn't commit any of the communities to building a desal plant, which the Wallace Group study estimates will cost between $17 million and $18 million. Santa Maria Times_ 1/30/06

Recycling is a better water option for Sydney than desalination: Australian Prime Minister John Howard

In July last year, former Premier Bob Carr announced a desalination plant would be built off the Kurnell peninsula, in Sydney's south, to convert sea water into 500 megalitres of drinkable fresh water a day. But the plan has had opposition from experts who believe recycling is a more cost-effective and less environmentally damaging option. The Australian_ 1/30/06

Plans for San Diego County seawater desalination project at a standstill

After years of negotiation, the San Diego County Water Authority and the developer of a proposed seawater desalination plant still have not reached an agreement on the project. Peter MacLaggan, senior vice president of Poseidon Resources, the developer, said Friday that the two sides have yet to agree on how much the Water Authority would pay for the desalinated ocean water or to buy the project itself. Asked if the Water Authority would take over development of the project and build the 50-million-gallon-a-day plant, MacLaggan said, “That's one of the options that's on the table. Poseidon and the Water Authority have been holding on again, off again negotiations since mid-2002. Carlsbad Mayor Bud Lewis made a surprise announcement at a Jan. 17 council meeting, saying that negotiations between the two appeared to be stalled. “They have not been able to come to a resolution – how long have they been at this? Several years,” Lewis said Friday in an interview. James Bond, chairman of the Water Authority board, said in an interview last week that the agency and Poseidon are still far apart on price. Poseidon also has been negotiating with separate water districts even as it is talking to the Water Authority. San Diego Union-Tribune_ 1/29/06

Sydney Water warns State Government that desalination won't solve Australian city's water problems
The rejection of desalination by the Government's own water authority was delivered in a formal briefing before Christmas by Greg Robinson, the head of Sydney Water to the then minister responsible, Frank Sartor. The memo warned that it was not feasible from a financial and environmental perspective. Premier Morris Iemma has since vowed to push ahead with a $1.3 billion, 500-megalitre plant for Kurnell. Mr Robinson, who has since been replaced by David Evans, also warned that water rates would have to be increased "significantly" to fund it. The letter also said desalination was considered but rejected by the Government's own Drought Expert Panel and extracting more water from the Shoalhaven, groundwater sources and recycling were preferable options. Daily Telegraph_ 1/16/06

 

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