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  • As of June 30, 2008 there were 13,869 "contracted desalination plants" worldwide, according to Global Water Intelligence and the International Desalination Association.
  • Top 10 desalination countries as of June 30, 2008, accordng to Global Water Intelligence and the International Desalination Association.
    1) Saudi Arabia  10,759,693 m3/d  17%
    2) UAE 8,428,456 m3/d 13%
    3) USA 8,133,415 m3/d 13%
    4) Spain 5,249,536 m3/d 8%
    5) Kuwait 2,876,625 m3/d 5%
    6) Algeria 2,675,958 m3/d 4%
    7) China 2,259,741 m3/d 4%
    8) Qatar 1,712,886m3/d 3%
    9) Japan 1,493,158 m3/d 2%
    10) Australia 1,184,812m3/d 2%

2008 Desalination News


December, 2008

In Saudi Arabia, Alfaisal University signs research agreement with desalination agency

The Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC) and Alfaisal University yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate in research and training in the application of desalination technology. The agreement was inked by Prince Bandar bin Saud, chairman of the Executive Committee of Alfaisal University, and SWCC Governor Fehied F. Alshareef at the headquarters of King Faisal Foundation. Alan G. Goodridge, acting president of the university, was present during the function. Prince Bandar pointed out that production and supply of desalinated water was the top priority in the Kingdom. He added that with this cooperation agreement, the university would produce expertise that could fulfil technical needs of the country. Arab News_ 12/30/08

San Diego County desalination project asks Obama for $175 million

Poseidon Resources Corp.'s proposed desalination plant would get its own economic stimulus, if a $175 million federal funding request from the San Diego County Water Authority is approved. A global credit crunch has made such projects difficult to finance. Officials at Poseidon, which hasn't secured financing, say they are confident funding will be available by the middle of next year. The Water Authority's request for federal cash is included in a lengthy wish list county agencies submitted to the incoming administration. President-elect Barack Obama has said he intends to jump-start the faltering economy with massive public works projects. North County Times_ 12/24/08

Israel's Treasury Department slammed for mishandling desalination programs

The Treasury's penny-pinching ways derailed desalination over the last decade, expert witnesses testified Wednesday to the National Investigation Committee - Regarding the Water Crisis in Israel. Attempts to build desalination plants have littered the wayside over the last 10 years because of the Treasury's meddling, The Technion Institute's Grand Water Research Institute (GWRI) director Prof. Raphael Semiat charge. Israel is facing the most severe water crisis in its history. Natural sources are very low because of years of inadequate rainfall while desalination efforts are still significantly behind goals set four years ago. Jerusalem Post_ 12/24/08

Sidney Lobe, a developer of reverse-osmosis desalination, dies at 91

Sidney Loeb, one of the original developers of the reverse-osmosis desalination process, died in his sleep on 11 December at the age of 91. Loeb, together with Srinivasa Sourirajan, who is now 85 and lives in Ottawa, Canada, made the breakthrough that made today's RO industry possible at the University of California at Los Angeles in 1959. The world's first commercial RO system, which used the Loeb-Sourirajan tubular RO technology, was installed in Coalinga, California in 1965 providing potable water for the city. D&WR_ 12/18/08

Swansea, Massachusetts officials get first look at desalination plant

More than a dozen Swansea officials got a look Saturday at New England’s first public desalination plant, meant to eliminate decades of water shortages in the town and pave the way for new commercial development. Water District Superintendent Robert Marquis said the treatment center is expected to be complete by March. Pipes will filter existing Vinnicum Field well water and reverse osmosis units will remove salt from water pumped out of the Palmer River two miles away. Marquis said the $18 million project is still on budget. He said the price of the desalinated water should be close to what residents are paying now. Although the cost was originally estimated at $3.50 per 1,000 gallons, the federal government is subsidizing part of the electrical costs for the plant, which will bring the cost down to $2.90 per 1,000 gallons. Residents currently pay $2.50. Fall River Herald News_ 12/14/08

Report suggests planned Adelaide, Australia desalnation plant could cause marine harm

An independent report on the potential effects of Adelaide's planned desalination plant at Port Stanvac has contradicted a South Australian Government environmental impact statement (EIS). Onkaparinga Council commissioned Dr Jochen Kaempf from Flinders University to look into how a desalination plant would affect the marine environment in St Vincent Gulf. Dr Kaempf found salty brine discharge from the plant would be highly likely to damage the marine environment. ABC_ 12/12/08

Hyflux forecasts record profit next year on orders

Hyflux Ltd., building the world’s largest membrane-based desalination plant, may post record profits this year and next as governments step up infrastructure spending to bolster economic growth, said Deputy Chief Executive Officer Sam Ong said today in an interview. The water-treatment company, which gets half of its sales from China, is counting on increased state spending in the world’s fourth-largest economy to sustain profit growth amid the global recession. The Singapore-based company is now in talks with two Chinese municipal governments for new orders, Ong said. Hyflux in April won a contract for a plant in Algeria that will use membranes to remove salt from seawater, supplying 500,000 cubic meters of water daily when completed. The venture is the largest of its kind in the world, according to Hyflux. Bloomberg_ 12/11/08

Doosan Heavy wins Saudi desalination order worth US$197 million

Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction Co., South Korea's largest maker of power equipment, said Tuesday that it has received an order to build a desalination facility in Jeddeh on the coast of the Red Sea in Saudi Arabia for 287.2 billion won (US$197 million). The deal with Saline Water Conversion Corp. calls on Doosan Heavy to construct the facility by November 2011, the company said in a regulatory filing. Asia Pulse/Yahoo!_ 12/2/08

November, 2008

Long Beach, California, Water Commission begins study of putting test desalination plant on city beach

Last Thursday, the Water Commission voted 4-1 to contract with CH2M Hill for the preliminary study and fatal flaw analysis reviewing the possibility of placing a prototype plant on the beach below the Long Beach Museum of Art and connecting it to the existing under-ocean floor seawater intake and discharge system. That system was installed at the beginning of the year, and so far has proven effective. The beach study will have to address potential problems ranging from how to get power to the plant to community opinion to the ability to get permits from government agencies, said Water Department General Manager Kevin Wattier. Ron Nelson, executive director of the Long Beach Museum of Art said “our view is one of our most important assets on this site. What they’re proposing would be an environmental mess." Long Beach has been researching how to create potable drinking water out of sea water for more than a decade. Largely using state and federal grants, the department has been testing a patented double osmosis system called the Long Beach Method. Tests have shown the Long Beach Method is more efficient than the more commonly used approach using a single membrane. However, desalination plants in other areas have had problems with both water intake — screens tend to trap and kill marine life — and getting rid of the supersaturated brine that is the end product of the desalination process. An innovative undersea approach has been used in Japan, with a perforated pipe sucking water through the seabed, using that bed as a natural filter. The same system in reverse allows the brine to be diluted and dispersed. Gazettes.com_ 11/26/08

Australia's $1.2 billion Tugun desalination plant not ready on schedule

Unseasonal ocean swells and an electricity blackout have been blamed for the delay in the pumping of desalinated water into the Gold Coast's drinking supply. The public will get its first taste test of desalinated water at an open day at the $1.2 billion Tugun plant tomorrow but the official opening has been put off, prompting speculation that the Bligh Government is saving it for an election campaign photo opportunity early in the new year. Despite claiming it would be ready to be turned on in November this year and producing water at full capacity in January, the Government yesterday admitted the plant would not be operational until mid-January when it will be able to produce enough water each day for more than 700,000 people to meet the Target 170. Premier Anna Bligh will attend tomorrow's Desal Day 'opening' of the Gold Coast Desalination Project and organisers said she would be pressing a button to kickstart seawater being sucked into the plant. She will also get the first taste of the purified water. Although Gold Coasters who attend the community event will be able to taste desal water for the first time, it will not actually be ready to be piped offsite and mixed with water from Hinze Dam for several weeks. 11/29/08

Australian economist calls desalination 'a waste of money'

A leading Australian economist says spending billions of dollars to build water desalination plants in a bid to drought-proof cities is a waste of money. The Australian National University's Economics Professor Quentin Grafton says a better solution is to put up the price of water. He was speaking at an international conference held at the weekend in Canberra, to look at planning for drought in expectation of climate change. Radio Australia_ 11/17/08

Australian enterpreneur touts wind-powered desalination plants as answer to water crisis

Fifty wind-powered desalination plants could put an end to South Australia's reliance on River Murray water, says an Adelaide-based entrepreneur. Businessman Barrie Harrop, who holds exclusive Australian rights to the Denmark-developed wind-powered desalination technology for 20 years, said the plants would give coastal residents their own sustainable water and power supplies. Pre-feasibility studies of the green technology are under way in conjunction with South Australian government agencies, and the first plant is expected to be installed by the end of 2009, according to a statement from Mr Harrop's company, Windesal Ltd. AdelaideNow_ 11/10/08

Santa Cruz, California, desalination pilot plant meeting expectations

Six months into the seawater desalination pilot test program, the Santa Cruz Water Department and Soquel Creek Water District opened the doors to the facility and allowed about 100 curious residents a glimpse Saturday. "Everything has been going as we expected them to turn out," technical adviser Todd Reynolds said. "We're hoping for more challenging source waters to treat. Santa Cruz waters have been, typically, very clean." The Santa Cruz Water Department and Soquel Creek Water District are investigating the feasibility of using desalinated water as a supplemental water source during times of drought. Four different pre-treatment technologies along with reverse osmosis desalination technology are being tested for at least a year at the facility. The results of the pilot plant operations will be used to define the design requirements and costs of a full-scale desalination facility, which may be built in 2015. Santa Cruz Sentinel_ 11/9/08

Red tide forces closure of UAE desalination plant for a week

A desalination plant, whose closing last week cut water to many residents of Ras al Khaimah, may reopen tomorrow. An outbreak of red tide forced officials to close Al Ghalileh plant on Thursday last week. Yesterday, an official said the algal bloom had dissipated. As a result of the plant closure, some residents have been forced to purchase water from companies whose tankers are plying the area. Others are travelling long distances to collect water from other sources. Algal blooms are caused by growth of phytoplankton organisms, encouraged by a build-up of nutrients, such as those found in sewage, and sunlight. They reduce the amount of oxygen in water, which can make an area inhabitable for many species of marine life. The National_ 11/6/08

October, 2008

International Desalination Association forecasts desal boom from global water crisis

Newly released statistics from the International Desalination Association and Global Water Intelligence show a dramatic growth in the use of desalination to address the growing problem of worldwide water scarcity. According to the 2008-2009 Desalination Yearbook, total contracted capacity rose by 43% in 2007 and increased by an additional 39% in the first six months of 2008 alone. The emergence of new technologies that address cost and environmental concerns have prompted an explosion of interest in desalination around the globe, as communities grapple with the effect on their water supplies of population growth, climate change, contamination of water resources and industrialization. In fact, for many communities, desalination provides the only reliable source of potable water. If we see another dry winter in the Rockies, California will be the next market to take off. China is also on the verge of a very large expansion of its desalination capacity. Patricia Burke, IDA's Secretary General, cited statistics from WHO, the World Health Organization, which estimates that approximately 20 percent of the world's population live in countries where water is scarce or where people have not been able to access the resources available. News Release_ 10/29/08

Middle East holds huge potential for desalination plants

The size of waste water treatment and desalination projects under construction in the Middle East is currently around $100 billion (Dh367 billion) and the market is slated to get even bigger with time with expanding economies and population growth, senior industry executives told Gulf News on the sidelines of the Power Generation and Water Middle East exhibition and conference here on Sunday. The UAE alone is carrying out government and private waste water treatment and desalination projects which are estimated to be worth $15 billion. The world's largest desalination plant is the Jebel Ali Desalination Plant (Phase 2). By industry estimates, more than $120 billion will be spent toward developing water and wastewater infrastructure in the MENA region, one of the world's driest regions, over the next decade. Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE are poised to lead that initiative. Gulf News_ 10/26/08

UAE needs emergency water system as backup to desalination: Experts

The UAE, one of the largest per capita consumers of water in the world, needs to set up an emergency water management system rather than rely completely on desalination to meet its escalating demand for water, experts say. The rapid infrastructure developments, growing population, global warming and scarcity of conventional water resources are putting immense pressure on the UAE’s water resources that could lead to water shortage in the future, experts told Khaleej Times on the sidelines of Water Tech 2008, organised by International Quality and Productivity Centre (IQPC). Describing water shortage as the region’s major concern, Mark Sutcliffe, Programme Assistant, Unesco, said the Middle Eastern countries should have an emergency water management system rather than relying on desalination for the water requirements. Khaleej Times_ 10/14/08

September, 2008

Several areas of Muscat in the Sultanate of Oman facing water shortage caused by desalination problem

Several areas in the Muscat governorate on Sunday continued to face acute shortage of water following disruptions in supply caused by a major breakdown at the Ghubrah desalination plant. The Public Authority for Electricity and Water (PAEW) pledged to restore normal supplies “at the earliest.” In the worst affected areas, sonsumers have been struggling for more than three days. PAEW attributed the problem to a decline in levels in some of the main tanks in the governorate which, in turn, was caused by the sudden breakdown at Unit 7 of Ghubrah plant that produces about seven million gallons daily. The breakdown coincided with the periodic maintenance of another desalination plant at Barka, leading to a total 14 million gallon drop in water supplies for Muscat governorate. Khaleej Times_ 9/29/08

Bidders for Adelaide, Australia's desalination plant short-listed

Adelaide's new $1.1 billion desalination plant at Port Stanvac is a step closer, with three bidders short-listed to build the structure. And another two companies are on the shortlist to build the $100 million pipeline connecting the plant to the Happy Valley water treatment plant. Premier Mike Rann said Cabinet had approved the three bidders who had said they could deliver the plant 12 months ahead of the original schedule. Water Security Minister Karlene Maywald said she expected the plant to be delivering water by December, 2010. She said the successful tenderer would be decided in March next year. Mr Rann said the three short-listed companies were: ADDWATER, a consortia of Veolia Water and John Holland; WATER FIRST, a consortia of companies including Degremont, Thiess and Thiess Services; ADELAIDE AQUA, a consortia which included Acciona Agua, United Utilities, McConnell Dowell and Abigroup Contractors. He said SA Water had shortlisted Baulderstone Hornibrook and Built Environs, McConnell Dowell (in association with ARUP) for the pipeline project. The Advertiser_ 9/22/08

Suit filed to stop Carlsbad, California desalination plant

Environmentalists announced a lawsuit Friday in an attempt to stop construction of a desalination plant in Carlsbad. The lawsuit was filed Thursday in San Diego Superior Court by San Diego Coastkeeper and Surfrider Foundation, San Diego Chapter. The suit claims that in violation of state law, the San Diego Regional Water Board did not analyze the plan to determine the best site, design and technology before conditionally approving construction of the Carlsbad Desalination Plant. The groups claim they repeatedly raised concerns about the lack of analysis by the board. 10News.com_ 9/19/08

Mid East's Gulf region requires $20 billion in desalination spending
The Gulf region’s utility sector requires huge investment over the next seven years as economic growth gathered momentum since 2004, according to a report by consultancy firm Research & Markets. The growth in demand for electricity in the region is about 10% and desalination 8% a year, the report said. Based on 2007 unit costs, the GCC (Gulf Co-operation Council) region will require about $50 billion of investment in new power generating capacity and $20 billion in desalination. In the report entitled “Power and Water in the GCC: the Struggle to Keep Supplies Ahead of Demand”, the Ireland-based company said the Gulf region is facing an unprecedented capacity building programme to cope with a regional economic boom that is accompanying record oil prices and investment levels. Gulf Times_ 9/7/08

Officials pleased with performance of El Paso, Texas desalination plant

In a relatively short time, El Paso's $87 million desalination plant has received five national awards. It has also attracted the attention of water engineers in other U.S. cities and in countries such as Germany and Australia. The massive year-old plant, which transforms brackish groundwater into potable water, is working properly, said John Balliew, the El Paso Water Utilities vice president of operations and technical services, who oversees the plant. The plant is a joint project of the city's utility and Fort Bliss, but the post is not receiving desalinated water yet, said Die ter Jester, spokesman for the military installation. "We will in the future, but we don't know when," he said. The plant, the largest inland desalination plant in the world, is the desert city's answer to sustaining future growth and attracting industries that might not otherwise come here. El Paso Times_ 9/6/08

Solar powered desalination farm to bring life to the Sahara

The ingenious plan, known as the Sahara Forest Project is simple: combine huge greenhouses with concentrated solar power (CSP) and plain old seawater. The solar power provides electricity for the farm of greenhouses, the desalination of the seawater provides both the freshwater and cooling required to grow a wide variety of crops. One of the benefits of using the Seawater Greenhouse, invented by Chris Paton, is that it doesn't draw water from the ever diminishing freshwater table and since we have an abundance of seawater across the globe it could potentially turn the most arid, inhospitable and usually poor regions of the planet into rich farming areas. There is already interest in funding demonstration projects from across the Middle East, including UAE, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait. The cost is estimated at approximately $118 million for a 20 hectare site of greenhouses and a 10MW concentrated solar power farm. The initiative to harness the sun's power with the North Africa solar plan has already gained support in Europe from both the UK's Gordon Brown and French premier Nikolas Sarkozy and though expensive to set up, $150 billion, investing in the infrastructure, as government's have previously for oil, coal and nuclear could be more than worthwhile in the long term. According to the International Energy Agency $45 trillion will be needed in investment to develop new energy systems over the next 30 years.  Red Herring_ 9/2/08

August, 2008

Arizona mulls desalination project with Mexican city

The water for Arizona's future needs may lie off the coast of a popular Mexican resort, in the Gulf of California. State officials are studying the idea of importing filtered ocean water from an as yet unbuilt desalination plant in Puerto Peñasco, 60 miles south of the U.S. border. The water - potentially billions of gallons a year - would help sustain urban supplies in Arizona and could someday bring relief to rural residents, who have long sought a water source to replace rapidly depleting aquifers. A Scottsdale company already is looking at possible designs for the plant in Puerto Peñasco, where overworked groundwater wells are on the verge of running dry. Arizona water managers see an opening for the state to team up with the seaside resort on a larger plant to serve both countries. Such a project would raise a host of political, economic and environmental issues, and it's not clear who would pay the construction costs, which could top $250 billion. Oceans, which hold 97 percent of the Earth's water, were long considered a source of last resort, mostly because of the high cost of removing enough salt to produce drinking water. Big desalination plants operate widely in arid Middle Eastern nations, where water is pricey and energy is cheap, but only recently has the ocean emerged as a viable resource in the United States. At least two dozen plants are now on drawing boards in California, a state beset with water woes. Arizona Republic_ 8/31/08

Largest U.S. sea water desalination plant wins final OK

Poseidon Resources' proposal to turn ocean water into drinking water at a Carlsbad, California, plant cleared its final permitting hurdle Friday when the California State Lands Commission gave a green light to the project. The commission voted 3-0 in Los Angeles to allow Poseidon to co-lease the Encina Power Station's ocean intake and outfall, which Poseidon plans to use to draw in and release water. The approval marks the culmination of a 10-year effort by Poseidon to build an ocean-water desalination plant on the grounds of the power station on the south shore of Agua Hedionda Lagoon in Carlsbad. Poseidon, which obtained approval for the plant from the California Coastal Commission two weeks ago, hopes to begin construction next year and produce drinking water by 2011. San Diego Union-Tribune_ 8/22/08

California Coastal Commission approves desalination plant for Monterey's Cannery Row

The Ocean View Plaza on Cannery Row could not receive approval without securing a water supply. But the project now has its water after the California Coastal Commission voted 10-2 on Thursday to approve the project's proposed desalination plant. Water was the project's major sticking point, because Monterey does not have enough available water credits to allocate for the project. The Coastal Commission's approval allows the 11-year-old concept to move forward with the proposed 92,000-square-foot complex. The project will include shops, restaurant space, 38 market-rate condominiums, 13 low-cost housing units and 377 parking spaces. The City Council approved the current plan in June 2004, but it has run into some resistance including a lawsuit by a group citing environmental concerns. The project had been scheduled for Coastal Commission review in April, but an extension was requested after the commission's staff recommended against approval of the project. Monterey County Herald_ 8/9/08

S. California desalination plant goes forward

A private company's proposal to build the nation's largest drinking water desalination plant at Agua Hedionda Lagoon in Carlsbad cleared its final hurdles Wednesday before the California Coastal Commission.  The decision came at the conclusion of a 10½-hour hearing in Oceanside punctuated by objections from environmentalists and support from elected officials who stressed the crucial need to increase the region's water supply.  The $300 million plant envisioned by Poseidon Resources Inc. of Stamford, Conn., would produce 50 million gallons of drinking water each day, enough to supply 112,000 households.  Nine local water agencies have collectively contracted to buy the plant's entire output of drinking water. SignOnSanDiego.com_8/6/08

Pump uses less energy to desalinate water

A San Leandro, California, company has developed an ingenious pump that greatly reduces the energy needed to extract salt from seawater, a small but vital innovation that could help transform ocean water into something fit to drink. The PX Pressure Exchanger developed by Energy Recovery Inc. recently propelled the 68-person company into an initial public offering in a market that has been risk averse because of the nation's economic uncertainty. Since Energy Recovery went public in July at $8.50 per share, raising $68 million, its shares have risen in a down market - closing Friday at $11.34 - based on sales and expectations that demand for desalination plants will continue to rise as coast-hugging populations turn to the oceans. San Francisco Chronicle_ 8/3/08

Santa Barbara, California to consider paying for study to restart desalination plant

Santa Barbara’s water desalination plant, which cost $34 million to build, has been dormant since 1992, after officials used it for only a couple of months. The Santa Barbara City Council on Tuesday will consider spending $122,000 on a study to determine how to reboot the long-dormant water desalination plant that can, in times of dryness, turn ocean water into drinking water. “This is part of our planning process to look 20 years out,” said Bill Ferguson, water resources supervisor for the city of Santa Barbara. “We don’t need it right now." The city started building the plant in 1991, after voter approval in the midst of a local drought that lasted five years and led to drastic measures. The Charles Meyer Desalination Facility cost $34 million to build and was completed in less than a year. In 1992, the city fired it up, converting salt water into drinking water for customers in the downtown area. Two weeks later, it started to rain, Smith said. Noozhawk_ 8/2/08

Saudi Arabia's Saline Water Conversion Corporation records 3.3% rise in desalinated water

Saudi Arabia's Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC) recorded a 3.3 per cent increase in the amount of desalinated water produced in the kingdom during the fiscal year of 2007, totalling 1.066 million cubic metres compared to the previous year’s volume. In the report carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), Minister of Water and Electricity Abdullah bin Abdulrahman Al Hussayen, who is also chairman of SWCC, reiterated the keenness of the Government of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz to develop the SWCC and improve its operational efficiency. So far, five of the seven stages set for the completion of phases of the privatisation programme have been completed, leaving only two stages of restructuring and special regulations as well as determining tariffs, issuance of the necessary decisions, identifying buyers and preparing the bidding documents for investors. In the foreword to the report he stressed the importance of water conservation as a precious national resource for which the government has been exerting great efforts for the development of water sources and has spent billions of riyals to construct 30 desalination plants on the Arabian Gulf and the Red Sea coasts. The report said that nearly 30 plants are providing desalinated water for use in the Kingdom. Six of these plants are built along the east coast (Arabian Gulf) of the Kingdom and the rest of the 24 water desalination stations are located on the west coast (Red Sea). These plants provide the largest industrial base for water desalination in the world. Khaleej Times_ 8/2/08

San Juan Capistrano, California, restarts troubled groundwater plant

San Juan Capistrano’s beleaguered groundwater recovery plant is due to restart within in the next week, the city announced on July 28. The $32 million plant is designed to pull water from underground aquifers, filter it through a reverse-osmosis process and put it into the city’s drinking-water system. It is supposed to meet nearly all of San Juan Capistrano’s water needs in the winter months and half of the demand in summer months. But the plant, named Project of the Year by the American Public Works Association’s Southern California chapter, has been hampered by water-quality issues. Residents complain their water is discolored when the plant is in operation. The city and plant operator, Southwest Water Company, could not isolate the problem. The city also paid $200,000 last year to consultant Trussell Technology to find a solution. Now, the city has announced Southwest Water, working under a 20-year, $20 million contract, has made “significant upgrades” to the plant. In the new process, all of the water from the city’s six wells will go through the full filters. Before, only a portion of the water went through the system and was blended with other well water in an attempt to make it acceptable. Capistrano Dispatch_ 8/1/08

Seven San Diego County, California, mayors endorse desalination plant that would supply 9% of county's water

A proposed $300 million desalination plant in Carlsbad got a political boost Thursday, a week before a critical hearing before the California Coastal Commission. Seven mayors, including Jerry Sanders, mayor of San Diego, endorsed the plant, to be built near the coast at the Encina Power Station. The mayors said the plant is vital for a secure water supply, especially now that California is hit with a drought and environmentally mandated cutbacks of water imports from Northern California. The desalination plant would deliver 50 million gallons a day, or 9 percent of the water consumed in the county. Almost all San Diego County is imported with just 10 percent coming from local sources. If all goes well at the Aug. 6 Coastal Commission hearing, the desalination plant is expected to begin production in 2011, said Peter MacLaggan, a senior vice president at Poseidon Resources, the Stamford, Conn.-based company proposing to build the plant. The hearing takes place at 9 a.m. in the Oceanside City Council chambers. Assuming the commission endorses the plans, the final approval needed for construction is from the state Lands Commission, MacLaggan said. That commission is tentatively scheduled to consider the proposal Aug. 22. North County Times_ 8/1/08

GDF Suez wins Abu Dhabi desalination and power generation deal

French energy group GDF Suez said yesterday it has won a power generation and water desalination project in Abu Dhabi as the emirate brings in independent operators to cope with the rising utility demand. Located at Jebel Dhana, 250 kilometres west of Abu Dhabi city, the Shuweihat 2 plant will have a capacity to generate 1,500 megawatt of power and 100 million gallons per day of water. Samsung Corp said it had a $810 million contract for the gas-fired power plant facility from Shuweihat 2 Holdings Company Limited while Doosan Heavy Industries, another South Korean firm, said it won a $800 million order to build a water desalination facility for the project. Suez owns 40 per cent of Shuweihat 2, with the remaining held by Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority, which had issued the tender. Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Company, an affiliate of Adwea, is the sole off-taker of the output in the plant under a 20-year power and water purchase deal with Suez, which will operate the facility. Suez did not disclose the project's cost, but according to a stock exchange filing by Samsung the facility's construction cost is $2.15 billion. Completion and start-up of Shuweihat 2 is scheduled for 2011, Suez said. Gulf News_ 8/1/08

July, 2008

Renewable energy for Australia's north-south pipe and desalination plant

The energy needed to pump water over the Great Dividing Range to Melbourne in the north-south pipe — equivalent to powering 10,000 homes each year — will be offset by investments in renewable energy. Melbourne Water is also looking at harnessing the hydro power of the water, which may be used to help pump the water up the mountain. Industry sources said the renewable energy would cost Melbourne Water an extra $2.5 million to $3 million a year. The move is designed to blunt criticism that the Government's two major water projects — the desalination plant and the pipeline — are fossil-fuel-intensive answers to climate change, a problem created by fossil fuels. The Government has said the Wonthaggi desalination plant will also be offset by renewable energy. The Age_ 7/27/08

University team creates chlorine-tolerant desalination membrane

A chemical engineering professor at The University of Texas at Austin is part of a team that has developed a chlorine-tolerant membrane that should simplify the water desalination process, increasing access to fresh water and possibly reducing greenhouse gases. The research will be published July 28 in the German Chemical Society’s journal Angewandte Chemie. Professor Benny Freeman worked primarily with James E. McGrath of Virginia Tech University and Ho Bum Park of the University of Ulsan in South Korea for more than three years to develop the chlorine-tolerant membrane made of sulfonated copolymers. A patent has been filed. The development could also have a direct impact on reducing carbon-dioxide emissions, which contribute to global warming. The other co-authors of the article include Mehmet Sankir and Zhong-Bio Zhang, both of Virginia Tech. Funding for the research was provided by the Office of Naval Research and the National Science Foundation-Partnerships for Innovation Program. News Release_ 7/22/08

Marin County official hopes conservation can end need for desalination plant

A new push to conserve water is beginning to take hold in Marin and could avert the need for a desalination plant, according to a Marin Municipal Water District official. Officials say water demand in Marin is greater than the supply, although the situation has been masked by recent wet years. The district supplies water to 190,000 people in a 147-square-mile area between Sausalito and San Rafael. Within 10 years, Marin's annual "water deficit" is expected to increase from the present 3,200 acre-feet to 7,060 acre-feet, as demand grows and less water flows south from the Russian River because of greater demand in Novato and Sonoma County. The district is looking at a desalination plant costing up to $173 million to convert bay water to drinking water as a way to meet the need. But if the district can save about 10 percent - or about 3,000 acre feet - of water each year, there might not be a need for the desalination plant, said board member Alex Forman. Other water officials have said conservation probably wouldn't save enough to supply the county with enough water in case of a severe drought. Marin Independent Journal_ 7/20/08

Everyone in Bahrain to have safe tap drinking water within a few months: Water Authority

Tap water received now by more than 80 per cent of Bahrain's population can be used for drinking. The entire country will be covered by potable water within a few months, said Electricity and Water Authority (EWA) production and transmission deputy chief executive Batool Abdul A'al. The EWA has abandoned the policy of blending ground water with the desalinated water and has started converting desalinated water into potable water. Gulf Daily News_ 7/19/08

Nine arrested in Australian desalination plant protest

Nine protesters were arrested in an angry confrontation with police near the site of Victoria's $3 billion desalination project yesterday. About 20 police officers confronted 50 locals with orders to remove their information caravan from an unsealed road 500m from the site near Wonthaggi. Local Liberal MP Ken Smith was among the protesters and slammed the Brumby Government for picking a fight with a community group. Your Water Your Say spokeswoman Andrea Bolch said protesters would do whatever they could to stop the desalination project. Environment Minister Gavin Jennings had been hoping to avoid a repeat of last week's protests when three people were arrested. Herald Sun_ 7/15/08

India's Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) builds barge-mounted desalination plant for safe drinking water

The Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, or Barc, has built a barge-mounted desalination plant that can produce 50,000 litres of drinking water everyday. Built as a technology demonstrator, the plant is currently docked near Goa and ready to sail. “It is being transferred to the mining and mineral processing company, Indian Rare Earths Ltd, which will deploy it in one of its locations,” says P.K. Tewari, head, desalination division of Barc. Safe drinking water is an unrealized dream for people in many parts of India, particularly in the coastal regions that have either sea or brackish water as their only source. The problem gets worse when natural calamities, recurrent along the country’s 7,517km-long coastline, disrupt the drinking water system.
The idea behind Barc’s initiative was to test a “unique sustainable model” of water entrepreneurship where Barc would supply the technology and guidance, and the entrepreneur would bring in capital and devise a price mechanism, whereby he could repay his loan (if any, on his capital), make marginal profits and fulfil consumer needs. LiveMint_ 7/7/08

Metito completes AED 17.12 million design, build and operate reverse osmosis polishing plant for Dubai's Palm Jumeirah district

Metito, the international desalination, water, and wastewater treatment specialist today announced the completion of an advanced, international-standard Reverse Osmosis Polishing Plant that will process 18,000 cubic meters of treated sewage effluent every day and will drastically reduce the water requirements of Dubai's Palm Jumeirah district cooling system. The challenging project included design, detailed engineering, procurement, installation and commissioning of the plant. Following completion, Metito will operate and manage the entire complex for a period of five years. The Reverse Osmosis Polishing Plant takes treated effluent from the adjacent Sewage Treatment Plant and converts it to high-quality, organics-free industrial water that is suitable for feeding the district cooling system at Palm Jumeirah. This innovative solution represents an environmentally-friendly breakthrough that will reduce district cooling water requirements by around 6.5 million cubic meters every year. The highly unusual below-ground installation of the Reverse Osmosis Polishing Plant makes it invisible to anyone living or visiting the Palm Jumeirah; an aesthetic benefit that is very important given that Palm Jumeirah is host to many of the world's renowned dignitaries and celebrities. Additionally, much time and effort was invested in ensuring that zero tolerance of odor emissions was achieved. Middle East News_ 7/6/08

Namibia, southern Africa's driest nation, contracts with Energy Recovery Inc. (ERI) for desalination plant

ERI® of San Leandro, California, said in a news release the new energy recovery contract is for a 55,000-m3/day (14.5 million US gallons per day) desalination plant near Swakopmund, Namibia; a country bordering Angola, Botswana, Zambia and South Africa. The new uramin desalination plant will supply water for the Trekkopje Uranium project and increase the water supply to the region. Namibia, the world's fifth largest producer of uranium has an extremely dry climate with erratic and sparse rainfalls; and within the nation, natural resources such as diamonds, copper, uranium, silver, tungsten and lead are abundant. The project, awarded to Keyplan (Pty) Ltd Namibian Subsidiary is expected to provide 20 million cubic meters of water per year to the mine initially. An expansion to the project could double the capacity to address the needs of nearby residents as well as possibly other mines. Keyplan’s selection of ERI PX® Pressure Exchanger technology as the plant’s energy recovery solution is due in large part to its increased global presence in areas such as the Middle East and North Africa, as well as its flexibility for other applications, including the mining sector. Earlier this year, ERI was awarded the Global Water Awards 2007 Environmental Contribution of the Year by desalination industry leaders. News Release/PowerHomeBiz_ 7/5/08

June, 2008

Qatar and Texas A&M to test innovative desalination project

Qatar Science & Technology Park and Texas A&M University at Qatar will launch next month a $400,000 project to overcome a major environmental impact of water desalination, it was announced yesterday. Known as ‘Zero Liquid Discharge’, the technology promises to replace the salty brine that normally remains from desalination plants with easily-disposable solids. The ZLD technology could solve both problems of increasing groundwater salinity and brine disposal. The current method of dealing with brine is to evaporate it in ponds or with petroleum-fired vaporisers. This typically accounts for 70% of the system cost and consumes either land or fuel. Instead of evaporating the brine, TAMUQ’s innovation would remove the salt chemically via a lime-aluminium process. Gulf Times_ 6/30/08

Making the Negev Desert bloom once seemed like a good idea, but it's killing the Dead Sea

Water has long been a deeply political issue in the Levant; wars are waged over it. Aquifers and other sources of water tend to straddle political boundaries. Levi Eshkol, Israel's prime minister during the Six Day War, was a water-company executive who spent long hours poring over maps of potential sources. According to "The Iron Wall," a history by Avi Shlaim, Eshkol believed that "without control over the sources of water the Zionist dream could not be realized." In 1964 Israel completed the National Water Carrier, designed to pipe drinking water from the Sea of Galilee, in Israel's north, to the Negev in the south. Syria and other Arab states then moved to divert the headwaters of the Jordan, igniting fierce clashes that included Syrian-sponsored Palestinian guerrilla attacks. The water wars were one of the key factors in the establishment of the PLO in 1964. Diverting water from the Galilee has contributed to another devastating environmental consequence: the drying of the Dead Sea. The Negev is the laboratory for new technologies Israelis hope may solve their water troubles. Experts, though, wonder how far technology can boost supply. Drip irrigation and desalination can only do so much. Making the desert bloom was a good idea "in its time," says David Brooks, a Canadian water expert and environmentalistbut now "the very idea of developing the Negev is wrong." The day to rethink Israel's romance with desert farming may be here. Newsweek_ 6/28/08

Rising energy prices cause Veolia's desalination costs to triple

Veolia Environnement SA, the world's biggest water company, said the cost of purifying seawater has tripled because of higher energy prices, squeezing profit margins. The cost of producing water from desalination plants may have risen to as much as $1.60 per cubic meter from as low as 50 cents ``in the last few years,'' Jean-Michel Herrewyn, chief executive officer of Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies, said in an interview in Singapore yesterday. Power is the largest cost at a desalination plant, which filters millions of gallons of seawater into drinking water by straining out salt, bacteria and minerals. Industry margins at desalination plants, typically between 10 and 15 percent, are shrinking as fuel costs increase. Bloomberg_ 6/26/08

Water Corporation's Desalination ads misleading

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has found that the Water Corporation misled the public in its desalination advertising campaigns and online publishing. The Corporation published claims that its Perth Desalination Plant was carbon neutral, and its total energy requirements were sourced from the Emu Downs Wind Farm near Cervantes, north of Perth.  The ACCC says the statements were misleading and has told the Water Corporation not to make similar claims in the future.  ABC News_6/26/08

Cost to offset carbon footprint at Australian desalination plant hits A$42 million

Offsetting the Victorian desalination plant's contribution to climate change will add $42 million a year to its electricity bill, a new analysis shows. The report by Environment Victoria, the state's peak conservation lobby, says the size of the bill reflects the massive energy demands of the plant, to be built near Wonthaggi in west Gippsland. According to Environment Victoria's analysis, the plant would require the equivalent of five new wind farms to be "carbon neutral". Environment Victoria campaigns director Mark Wakeham said the most transparent way to ensure the plant operators offset its greenhouse gas emissions in full would be to make them buy 100% green power. The Age_ 6/16/08

"Man-made" water has different chemistry

“Water that’s been desalted through reverse osmosis contains a unique composition which will induce changes in the chemistry and ecology of aquifers and natural water systems it enters,” says Avner Vengosh, associate professor of earth and ocean sciences at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment. A new study by Vengosh and colleagues in France and Israel provides tools to identify and trace this man-made water as it mixes with natural water supplies and, over time, replaces natural waters in areas entirely dependent on desalination. The study, published this month in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Science and Technology, details for the first time the isotope geochemistry – or chemical fingerprints – of the elements boron, lithium, strontium, oxygen and hydrogen found in reverse osmosis-desalted seawater and brackish groundwater. Identifying these unique geochemical and isotopic fingerprints gives scientists and water-quality managers a new array of tools for tracing the presence and distribution of man-made fresh water in a region’s soils, surface waters and ground waters, Vengosh says. Being able to trace water back to a desalinated source through its isotopic and geochemical fingerprints will allow local governments and water utilities to zero in on the problem of valuable water loss and correct it more quickly and efficiently. Moreover, because desalted wastewater can be recycled through the environment and reused as a drinking water source – a process already being used in southern California – the new tools would enable water authorities to trace the relative contribution of desalted water in their system, and to test the effectiveness of their water treatment processes. Duke University_ 6/9/08

Ottawa, Canada student may hold secret to Water For All

Mohammed Rasool Qtaisha knows what it's like to be thirsty. The 29-year-old chemical engineering PhD student at the University Ottawa grew up in Jordan, where water shortages were a way of life. And his experience is shared by millions of others around the world. Inspired by his circumstances, Mr. Qtaishat founded Water For All with the aim of developing a new water technology to turn seawater into clean, drinking water on a large scale. Current desalination technology is slow and very energy intensive. In 2004, Mr. Qtaishat approached the Middle East Desalination Research Centre in Oman and presented his method for developing a far more efficient way of turning seawater into drinking water. The centre was so impressed, they offered him a scholarship to come to Canada and develop his technology. Although Mr. Qtaishat's solution is top secret while the patent is still pending, he says refining the process is all about the type of material used in the membrane. With this new material, his prototype is able to run on solar panels and produce 50 kilograms of water per metre square of the membrane per hour. That is 600 to 700 per cent more efficient than current technology, which produces about seven to eight kilograms per metre per hour. But Mr. Qtaishat is up against stiff competition. General Electric has a large water purification division looking into similar technology and the U.S.-based National Science Foundation recently announced a $2.5-million grant to the University of Michigan to assemble a crack team of experts to study the same thing. Globe and Mail_ 6/5/08

May, 2008

Desalination no 'silver bullet' in Mideast

Desalination has long been considered the technological holy grail in the Holy Land's water shortage crisis, but regional experts say relying on this solution is not quite so clean-cut. Energy-intensive desalination plants, which turn salt water into fresh water, could create more problems for Israel, experts warn. A diverse, long-term water treatment and management plan is the only way to guard against dwindling supplies and increasing tensions, said Israeli and Palestinian analysts at a recent water conference in Amman, Jordan. More than ten million Israelis and Palestinians live side-by-side in one of the most densely populated areas of the planet. And their water is running out, due to pollution and drought. Just two main aquifers and one river system provide for Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza Strip. The Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee)-Jordan River system is also tapped by Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan. With five large state-of-the-art facilities already built or in the works, and 31 smaller facilities in the country's south, desalination will soon form the backbone of Israel's water system. Some experts believe half of Israel's potable water supply will eventually come from desalination. But Israeli and Palestinian engineers, economists, and political scientists at the Water Wisdom conference, convened in April by professors Alon Tal of Israel's Ben-Gurion University and Alfred Abed-Rabbo of the West Bank's Bethlehem University, raised serious questions about the potential environmental, geopolitical, and social impacts of desalination.

National Geographic 5/22/08

Desalination, for a world short of water

The desalination market is dominated by a few large industrial conglomerates that either build desalination plants, manufacture the filter membranes that remove impurities from the water, or both. General Electric (GE) vaulted into the top tier of desalination suppliers in 2004 when it paid $1.1 billion to acquire Ionics, which builds desalination plants and makes filter membranes. Paris-based Veolia Environnement (VE) is a major desalination plant builder and membrane supplier, as well as a water utility operator, getting about 34% of its revenue from water-related businesses. The Hydranautics division of Japanese chemical company Nitto Denko (6988.T) was the world's largest membrane supplier as of the end of 2005, according to Wangnick Consultants, followed by Dow Chemical (DOW), DuPont (DD), and GE. Among plant builders, Italian construction firm Impreglio (IPGOF) and South Korea's Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction (DOHIF) rank as some of the largest. Suez (SZEZY), Siemens (SI), and Spanish construction companies Acciona (ACXIF) and Abengoa (ABGOF) all have desalination businesses.  BusinessWeek_ 5/21/08

Israel's IDE to build desalination plants in Asia

Israel Desalination Enterprises Technologies (IDE) won a tender to build three desalination plants in Asia worth of a total of about $80 million, IDE said on Tuesday. IDE, jointly owned by Israel Chemicals and the Delek Group, did not say where in Asia the plants will be built, but the statement said the projects should be completed by the end of 2009. In the past year, IDE has won tenders to build desalination plants in China and Australia. Reuters_ 5/21/08

Carlsbad, California pushes to get power plant moved; but seawater desalination deal may favor NRG Energy

The city of Carlsbad faces a challenge in trying to persuade NRG Energy to move a proposed new power station away from the coast. The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to oppose NRG Energy's application to build a new gas-powered plant on its ocean-view property west of Interstate 5, on the south shore of Agua Hedionda Lagoon. Council members say the coastal land is too valuable to remain an industrial site and should be developed for some other purpose. The new plant would be built just east of the Encina Power Station, which NRG owns. The California Energy Commission, not the city, has authority over a new plant, so Carlsbad can only offer its input. Council members say there's no longer a reason to put a power plant on the coast, because unlike Encina, a new plant won't use ocean water to cool its generators. NRG's proposed 540-megawatt plant would be air-cooled. But several factors, including the council's approval two years ago of an ocean-water desalination plant on NRG's property, may work against Carlsbad's effort to move the plant. The city was a catalyst in getting NRG to lease 4 of its 95 acres to privately held Poseidon Resources Inc., which has proposed a 50 million-gallons-a-day desalination plant. The city also kept the desalination project alive after a hoped-for marriage between Poseidon and the San Diego County Water Authority never got beyond holding hands. San Diego Union-Tribune_ 5/17/08

Massachusetts desalination plants nearly a reality

There are hundreds of desalination plants in the world today, but the idea is still fairly new in New England and across the United States. But nobody told the members of Aquaria Water LLC or the Swansea Water District. Both have spent more than a decade combined working to bring the trend to New England. The privately owned Aquaria Plant in Dighton is within weeks of filtering its first round of desalination water for Brockton, and the Swansea facility is expected to be up and running sometime in late 2009. Aquaria’s parent company, Inima, has built dozens of desalination plants in Europe, Australia and other continents. Alfredo Andres, general manager of Aquaria, said it took more than four years to secure the necessary permits for the plant because the state's environmental agencies were unfamiliar with the concept. For Aquaria, the cost to produce the water is $1.23 per thousand gallons. Aquaria charges Brockton $5 per thousand gallons, using the rest to cover capital costs for the building. Swansea estimates it will pay a similar price for desalinated water when its plant goes online. Water District Superintendent Robert Marquis said residents are paying roughly the same rate now and won’t see any huge increasewhen the plant begins operating. Herald News_ 5/17/08

Utility provider Imdad puts UAE desalination plant on hold

The $545m desalination plant planned for the emirate of Umm al-Qaiwain has been put on hold, raising new questions about the viability of major real estate projects in the northern emirates. Sources close to the project say there are unresolved issues between Saudi-based Al-Rajhi Investment Group and the government of Umm al-Qaiwain, the two shareholders in Imdad, the utility provider that is carrying out the project. It is uncertain whether an award will ever be made. Bids for the 16 million-gallon-a-day desalination plant were submitted in 2007 by South Korea's Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction, France's Veolia Environnement, the US' GE Energy, Dubai-based AES Oasis, the UK's Acwa, Spain's Acciona, US-based Aquatech and India's Ion Exchange. MEED_ 5/16/08

Desalination plant in Australia's Victoria state gets green light

Work on Victoria's proposed $3.1 billion desalination plant has been given the go-ahead after a court dismissed a claim from a community group to stop it from being built. A bid by Your Water Your Say (YWYS) to stop work beginning on the project's pilot plant failed, with Federal Court judge Peter Heerey ruling there was no evidence it would cause environmental damage. Victorian Water Minister Tim Holding said work on the pilot plant would now continue as planned near Wonthaggi in the state's south-east. The West Australian_ 5/16/08

Elran completes sale of desalination plant stake

Elran Investments Ltd. subsidiary Elran (DD) Infrastructures Ltd. has completed the sale of its 25% stake in VID Desalination Company Ltd. and its 10% stake in Adom (Desalination Ashkelon) Ltd., which own and operate the Ashkelon desalination facility, to Veolia Water SA for NIS 94.1 million. Elran Investments owns 45.4% of Elran Infrastructures. The Ashkelon desalination facility is one of the largest facilities of its kind in the world, and the first in Israel. Globes_ 5/15/08

Wind farm to power Australian desalination plant

The State Government has signed a 20-year contract to create the largest wind farm in New South Wales to power its desalination plant. This is part of its commitment that the plant would use renewable energy, even though it will be a big electricity user. The 63-turbine Capital Wind Farm in Bungendore, near Queanbeyan - funded by Babcock & Brown Wind Partners and Babcock & Brown Power - will provide all the electricity needs of the desalination plant, the Premier, Morris Iemma, said yesterday. The controversial Kurnell desalination plant, announced when the dam levels in Sydney were falling to 30 per cent in the recent drought, will be operating by the summer of 2009-10 and will be run continuously for the first two years after it is built, said the CEO of Sydney Water, Kerry Schott. Costs for the plant and pipelines are expected to be almost $1.9 billion and will add about $100 a year to each household's water bill, Dr Schott said. As of last week, NSW dam levels were at 65.7 per cent, according to the Sydney Catchment Authority. Sydney Morning Herald_ 5/14/08

Israel council approves desalination plant for Palestinians

A plan to build a large desalination plant for the Palestinians got the green light yesterday from the national planning and construction council, which also paved the way for a significant increase in the amount of sea water that will be desalinated by 2040. The desalination plant for the Palestinians will be located in the Hadera industrial zone and is capable of producing some 150 million cubic meters a year. In addition to allocating land for the facility, Israel will also allow a pipeline on its soil, but donor nations are slated to actually build and operate the facility. The planning council also decided that additional desalination plants can be added as needed, depending on Israel's water needs by 2040. The master plan for desalination plants allows for the construction of eight such facilities. Two have been built, and a third is under construction. Haaretz_ 5/14/08

Australia to spend A$2.3 billion over five years to finance water replacement as climate changes

''The effects of climate change mean most of Australia's cities and towns have less water, and we can no longer on rainfall to supply all our drinking water,'' Minister for Climate Change and Water Penny Wong said, in a statement accompanying the Federal Budget. The National Urban Water and Desalination Plan will get $1 billion, offering cities of more than 50,000 people access to funds to develop new water supplies. Private companies, utilities and local and state governments will be able to apply for grants and tax offsets to support desalinations, recycling and stormwater harvesting. Projects in Adelaide and Geelong will get funding totaling $50 million for two recycling projects. All up, some $12.9 billion will be spent over the long-term on the government's Water for the Future plans. Access to those funds, including the $1 billion announced today, are conditional on state and territory governments meeting agreed water reforms. The Age_ 5/13/08

Drought-stricken Barcelona, Spain forced to ship in drinking water until desalination plant online

Spain's worst drought in decades forced the proud city of Barcelona to start shipping in drinking water today, an unprecedented step that business leaders bemoan as a public relations nightmare for one of Europe's top tourist destinations. A Panamanian-flagged tanker loaded with water docked in Spain's second-largest city, launching a mission by an emergency, six-vessel flotilla scheduled to operate for at least three months. Barcelona has been among the regions hardest hit by Spain's worst springtime drought since record-keeping began 60 years ago. The ships will provide the 5.5 million people of greater Barcelona with 6 percent of their usual monthly water consumption. The ship solution and a planned $277 million pipeline to bring in water from the Ebro River to the west are designed to help the region hang on until a desalination plant is completed in May of next year. That facility, which would be one of the biggest of its kind in Europe, is supposed to resolve many of Catalonia's water woes. AP/Baltimore sun_ 5/13/08

London's new mayor drops challenge to desalination plant

London's mayor has withdrawn a legal challenge to a desalination plant in a deal with Thames Water that aims to keep traffic moving in the city. The planned £200m facility in Beckton, north-east London, will make supplies from the Thames estuary drinkable. The plant would be used mainly during droughts. Previous mayor Ken Livingstone launched the challenge against the plant on environmental grounds despite the government giving it the go-ahead. Mayor Boris Johnson said the deal would cut the impact of roadworks on traffic. Mr Johnson said the company had also agreed to new environmental measures. These include helping to capture and reuse the waste energy generated by the proposed Barking Power Station to help provide heating and hot water for up to 90,000 homes and save up to 90,000 tonnes of CO2 a year. BBC News_ 5/12/08

French desalination giant Degremont to bid for Melbourne, Australia's seawater treatment plant

In an interview with the Herald Sun, Degremont chief executive Thierry Mallet has sought to allay fears about the A$3 billion plant, scheduled to be operating by 2011, and even suggests it may be a plus for the area. Degremont joins two other companies in the race to build and run the plant. Mr Mallet said that the plant could be built with minimal impact on the environment. Degremont has built more than 250 desalination plants over more than 20 years. The Government is expected to award the contract next year. Herald-Sun_ 5/12/08

San Leandro, California desalination company Energy Recovery Inc. plans IPO

Looking to capitalize on the world's ever-increasing thirst for fresh water, desalination equipment supplier Energy Recovery Inc. last month filed to raise as much as $175 million in an initial public offering to expand its business in a fast-growing segment of the global water desalination industry. "This is definitely a time of growth for the water sector and desalination in particular," said Richard Stover, chief technology officer and head of sales. There are two main types of desalination: thermal, which uses heat in the conversion process, and reverse osmosis, which uses very high pressure to push water through a filtering membrane. ERI focuses on the seawater reverse osmosis, or SWRO, segment. That method is growing faster than the overall desalination market in part because of better membranes and in part because desalination facilities are using energy recovery devices that increase efficiency. Desalination is an energy-intensive process; the recovery devices help lower costs. ERI says its PX Pressure Exchanger, or PX, which captures and recycles energy in the desalination process, reduces energy consumption by 60 percent compared with the traditional thermal desalination method. East Bay Business Times_ 5/2/08

Desalination: Part of the answer to California water problems

The Marina Coast Water District. near Monterey has been sucking water from the ocean and making it drinkable since 1997. The small plant can provide water for nearly a thousand homes. It is one of several around the state that is being used to study the feasibility of desalination plants. The water district is now hoping to build that bigger plant near a garbage dump, using the methane gas expelled by the site to power the water plant. That plant could potentially provide enough water for 10,000 homes each year.The State Department of Water Resources says desalination plants are being tested or proposed all over the state. They won't solve the problem, but might make a dent. "It is expected that desalination would play not major role, maybe less than 10 percent," said Fehti Ben Jamaa from the California Department of Water Resources. KGOABC7_ 5/2/08

April, 2008

In California's Monterey Bay area, Water Standard Co. proposes off-shore desalination

Amanda Brock, CEO of the Water Standard Company, proposed placing a ship carrying a desalination plant a few miles out to sea over the deep waters of the Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary. The ship would drop large pipes deep down below most of the precious fish and other sea life protected by the sanctuary. The ship would then suck up the ocean water, use some special filters designed by the Water Standard Company and turn the salt water into drinking water. Company officials said the desalination ship could meet the daily demands of three-quarters of a million people. The Monterey Peninsula Water Management Agency is moving toward a land-based desalination solution based in Sand City, but Water Standard Company officials said they are continuing to pitch the ship solution to Central Coast water districts. KSBW_ 4/30/08

Israel's IDE Technologies takes its desalination expertise worldwide

No radio or TV news broadcast during the winter months in Israel would be complete without a mention of the water level in the Sea of Galilee. The lake that played such a prominent role in Biblical times today provides about 40% of Israel's fresh water supply. Annual winter rains are crucial for replenishing the inland lake and ensuring its ability to quench the thirst of Israel's 7 million inhabitants, but after four straight years of drought, dwindling water resources have forced the Jewish state increasingly to turn to desalination as a long-term solution. Israel's dire straits, along with shortages in dozens of other countries, have proven a blessing for IDE Technologies, a 40-year-old private company based in Kadima that is fast becoming a global leader in an industry forecasted to grow at double-digit rates for the foreseeable future. Businessweek_ 4/28/08

More research still needed, but desalination can boost U.S. water supplies: National Research Council

Recent advances in technology have made removing salt from seawater and groundwater a realistic option for increasing water supplies in some parts of the U.S., and desalination will likely have a niche in meeting the nation's future water needs, says a new report from the National Research Council. However, a coordinated research effort with steady funding is required to better understand and minimize desalination's environmental impacts -- and find ways to further lower its costs and energy use. Over 97 percent of the Earth's water -- seawater and brackish groundwater -- is too salty to use for drinking water or agriculture. Though desalination still generates less than 0.4 percent of the water used in the U.S., the nation's capacity to desalinate water grew by around 40 percent between 2000 and 2005, and plants now exist in every state. Most use a method called reverse osmosis, which pushes water through a membrane to separate out most of the salts. The report recommends that federal R&D on desalination be planned and coordinated by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and funded at the level of existing desalination R&D programs -- approximately $25 million a year. Currently there is no overall strategic direction to federal research on desalination, which is conducted by many agencies with varying goals. It also depends heavily on earmarks, which are unsteady sources of funding; from 2006 to 2007, federal funds declined by nearly 60 percent. Meanwhile, the private sector appears to fund the majority of the nation's desalination research. The study was sponsored by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. News Release_ 4/24/08

download pdf of the full report Desalination: A national perspective

Cheap energy in United Arab Emirates is over

The amount of energy the UAE consumes is set to treble by 2020 - a reflection of a very energy-intensive lifestyle. Until recently, the assumption was that demand growth would be met by creating additional generation capacity, fed by limitless gas resources. However, a significant shift occurred in the past year. Although gas, the principal fuel for power generation and desalination, is abundant in the region, the assumption that it would flow as a cheap resource to underpin the UAE's growth no longer makes sense.  Gulf News_ 4/19/08

New technique adds magnesium to desalinated water in Israel

A new technique that cheaply introduces healthful magnesium ions to desalinated water has been developed by the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. All desalinated water in Israel is produced by reverse osmosis, in which salt water from the sea is passed through membranes that separate the salts out. This produces water lacking calcium, magnesium and other minerals vital to health. To deal with this problem, calcium and other chemicals are added to Israeli desalinated water. But magnesium is not added because of the high cost. In the cheaper new technique, the Technion researchers take magnesium ions from the sea and "charge" them into desalinated water at concentrations recommended by the World Health Organization. Researchers in the institute's civil and environmental engineering faculty filed a patent for this process, which is more environmentally friendly than the conventional system. Jerusalem Post_ 4/12/08

Desalination plant in California's San Diego County gets conditional OK to move to next level
The San Diego region of the State Water Resources Control Board conditionally approved a plan by developer Poseidon Resources to compensate for the number of fish and marine organisms that would be killed in the desalination process. The board issued a permit for the Carlsbad plant in August 2006, but that permit allows Poseidon to desalinate ocean water in conjunction with the Encina Power Station, at the foot of Cannon Road in Carlsbad. The issue before the board yesterday was how Poseidon would minimize the death of marine life when it operates independently of the power station and draws water from the lagoon. The board voted 5-2 yesterday to approve Poseidon's first draft of its proposed plan but required it to return in six months with more detail on the number of fish killed, its method to minimize those deaths and how it plans to make up for them. Those conditions are similar to ones required by the California Coastal Commission's permit, issued in November. San Diego Union-Tribune_ 4/10/08

UK's Biwater-led consortium wins $115 million Algeria desalination plant order

A consortium led by UK group Biwater has won an order to build a $115 mln desalination plant in western Algeria, Algerian Energy Co (AEC) said in a statement. The plant near Oued Sept is designed to have a capacity of 100,000 cubic metres a day, and be set up within 24 months from the start planned for August. Biwater will lead the project with the participation of Toray based in the United States and Algeria's Arcofina. Thomson Financial/Forbes_ 4/7/08

March, 2008

Florida utilities complain about legal limbo of St. Johns River water plans

Several utilities proposing projects to remove water from the St. Johns River expressed concern March 28 about getting permits now that Seminole County's request for permitting is under review by an administrative law judge. At the meeting, utilities gave updates on the proposed Seminole County, State Road 45, DeLand and Lower Ocklawaha River surface water withdrawal plants as well as the Coquina Coast seawater desalination project. The desalination project is expected to cost at least $389 million more to build than the Lower Ocklawaha surface water withdrawal facility, according to a presentation made by Ron Wycoff of Water Supply Solutions Inc., a Gainesville-based engineering firm. Producing 1,000 gallons through desalinization costs about $6.50 per gallon, with the customer paying for about $6.25 of the cost. The cost of producing 1,000 gallons through a surface water plant is about $3.19 per gallon. Not only is desalination more expensive than removing water from the ground, but there are also limits to production, because only so much removed salt can be put back in the ocean without hurting the environment. Orlando Business Journal_ 3/31/08

Singapore's Hyflux to build $468 million water desalination plant in Algeria

Singaporean company Hyflux Ltd. will build a water desalination plant for an investment of $468 million in the Oran region, western Algeria, within the next 36 months with a capacity of 500,000 cubic metres per day, APS press agency reported. A joint venture company, MTM Spa, will be set up to ensure all the phases of the project are carried out. It will be 51 percent owned by Hyflux and 49 percent owned by Algerian Energy Company. Algeria has launched the construction of 13 desalination plants which are to be built between now and 2010 to provide drinking water for urban centres. Thomson Financial/Hemscott_ 3/30/08

San Antonio, Texas, Water System (SAWS) agrees to share regional scientific data for groundwater desalination plant

San Antonio Water System (SAWS) formed a new regional science advisory committee with officials from Bexar and Atascosa counties to jointly examine data related to SAWS' planned brackish groundwater desalination project. Following a meeting between San Antonio Mayor Phil Hardberger, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff and Atascosa County Judge Diane Bautista, elected officials and water purveyors agreed to review scientific findings together. The elected officials want to work with SAWS to ensure that the project does not adversely affect local water supplies in the Carrizo Aquifer or the much deeper Wilcox Aquifer from which the brackish water will be drawn. Brackish water has too high a salt content to be drunk. By removing the high salt content, SAWS believes that it may be able to tap into a new source of potable drinking water for the region. The committee's goal is to ensure that Atascosa County residents have their questions answered adequately and openly regarding the project. The proposed plant has an estimated price tag of $299 million. SAWS provides water and waste water services to more than 1 million residents in the San Antonio area. San Antonio Business Journal_ 3/25/08

Japan's Mitsui & Co. to join 400 billion yen energy, water desalination project in Qatar - report

Japanese trading house Mitsui & Co will participate in 400 billion yen power and water desalination project in Qatar through a local joint venture, the Nikkei reported on Tuesday, without citing sources. The trading company will sign a business agreement in Qatar's capital city of Doha as early as this week, the business daily said. Operations are to begin in 2011, it said. Mitsui and a Belgian unit of French conglomerate Suez will each take 20 percent stakes in the joint venture, with the state-run Qatar Petroleum and others holding the remaining interest. The joint venture will oversee the construction of power generating and water desalination facilities in the Ras Laffan Industrial City, located 80 kilometres northeast of Doha. The water facilities will be equipped to supply at least 800,000 people with water for 25 years. Thomson Financial/Forbes_ 3/24/08

Desalination ensures no water, power crisis in Kuwait this summer: Minister

The Minister of Electricity and Water has made preparations to ensure that the country does not face a water crisis this summer. "We do not expect either a water or electricity shortage. So don't worry this summer," noted Mohammad Al-Olaim, Minister of Electricity and Water and acting Oil Minister yesterday. Kuwait is suffering from water shortage because it is geographically situated in a dry weather area. "This is why the sea water desalination plants were established-to produce fresh water. This strategic technique is indispensable. Further, unused sources of water such as the treated sewage water can be used for irrigation or industry," he said. "The current production capacity of the desalination stations is 430 million gallons per day. Production will be raised to 600 million gallons during the next few years," he explained. Kuwait Times_ 3/24/08

Desalination gets a serious look in Las Vegas, Nevada

As the West dries up, water managers, politicians and environmental groups alike are searching for an option — any option — to create water. Even the Southern Nevada Water Authority, which has said the technology is no silver bullet, is considering desalting despite its many challenges. Last month, Gov. Jim Gibbons made waves when he said he would rather see Las Vegas rely on desalination plants on the Pacific coast than on the controversial planned pipeline to move rural Nevada water to Las Vegas. Southern Nevada Water Authority General Manager Pat Mulroy has not talked with the governor since he made those comments in Fallon on Feb. 21, but last week she said Gibbons just doesn’t understand how complex it would be to build a desalting plant on the coast of California or Mexico and trade the water it produces for more water from the Colorado River. Las Vegas Sun_ 3/21/08

Pilot desalination plant up and pumping in Santa Cruz, California

The first step down the long road to securing the area's future water supply was taken Thursday as a temporary test desalination plant on the Westside was switched on. The $4 million pilot plant, to run for at least a year at the Seymour Center's Long Marine Lab, is expected to set the stage for a permanent desalination facility in Santa Cruz around 2015. The desalination project is a team effort by the city Water Department and Soquel Creek Water District, the two water agencies that provide the bulk of drinking water to homes and businesses from Davenport to Aptos. Soquel Creek is plagued with overused wells threatened by saltwater intrusion, while Santa Cruz, which relies on surface water, is caught in a bind during the dry periods that have occurred every six or seven years. Santa Cruz Sentinel_ 3/21/08

Peru bets on desalination to ensure water supplies

Peru plans to start desalinating water from the Pacific Ocean to make up for declining supplies from fast-melting glaciers affected by climate change, President Alan Garcia said on Tuesday. The Andean nation relies for fresh water mostly on rivers, some of which descend the dry western slopes of the Andes and are partly fed by large tropical glaciers that are melting at an unprecedented rate. Lima, Peru's capital and home to 9 million people, is located in a coastal desert. Doosan Hydro Technology, a unit of South Korea's Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction Co Ltd that specializes in desalination, may build two plants on Peru's coast to supply water to more than a million people, the government said. Reuters_ 3/11/08

Kuwait awards $318 million desalination contract to Doosan Heavy

Doosan Heavy Industries Co., South Korea's biggest maker of power equipment, said Tuesday that it has won a 311-billion-won ($318 million) deal to build a desalination facility in Kuwait. The deal with Kuwait's Ministry of Electricity and Water calls for Doosan Heavy to build the facility by September 2013, the company said in a regulatory filing. Korea Times_ 3/11/08

Research rejects need for Melbourne, Australia desalination plant

Victoria's $3.1 billion desalination plant could prove an energy-hungry white elephant, an analysis of Melbourne's water supply future has found. Projections using State Government figures show that even with climate change reducing rainfall and an increasing population, Melbourne's dams could be overflowing by the middle of 2014 if desalination goes ahead. But Melburnians would still be paying extra for their water because of the cost of building and running the plant. The Government has rejected the research, commissioned by protest group YourWaterYourSay, as flawed, saying it underestimates Melbourne's needs and overestimates the water available, but a leading water expert who has sat on several government water advisory boards has said it shows "there are questions which need to be asked." Emeritus Professor Barry Hart, former director of the Water Studies Centre at Monash University, and independent chairman of the Yarra Co-ordinating Committee, said "the information … is sufficiently robust for there to be concern over the long-term need for the desal plant." The Age_ 3/11/08

Desalination may be Tiger Woods' way out of Jupiter Island, Florida water hazard

The golf great and his neighbors on the elite island where Woods is building a new home are searching for alternatives to the public water supply — and therefore government regulation — to irrigate their expensive landscapes, according to Jupiter Island officials. The options range from a multi-million dollar personal desalination plant only the likes of Woods — the biggest drinking water user in his immediate area in January — likely could afford, to older cistern technology property owners can build for about $8,000 on a quarter-acre lot. Such systems would be exempt from the current South Florida watering restrictions and are considered in the spirit of conservation. TCPalm_ 3/10/08

Britain's Royal Navy awards £1.3 million desalination contract

Rochdale-based Salt Separation Services will install equipment on two new aircraft carriers which is capable of turning more than one million litres of sea water into drinking water every day. The company expects to start work on the construction of six `desalination' plants next year. The 18-year-old business specialises in cleaning and improving the freshwater supply for boats, cruise liners, oil platforms and manufacturers. It employs around 40 staff, with a turnover of over £2.5 million. Manchester Evening News_ 3/10/08

Desalination vs. earmarks: Orange County, California project loses to Washington politics

Rep. John Campbell, R-Irvine, a crusader against earmarks- the name given to money lawmakers get included in bills for projects in their district- had a request from the Metropolitan Water District of Orange County for $2.5 million to continue planning for a desalination plant at Dana Point. Campbell got the bill through committee and it was scheduled for a vote on the House floor last month. But instead, Campbell pulled it. He said unnamed lawmakers – who support earmarks and sit on the committee that doles them out – were reportedly going to say that on the one hand Campbell rails against earmarks while on the other he is pushing for one for Orange County. Meanwhile, the Metropolitan water district still wants $2.5 million in federal money, half of what's needed to complete the current planning for the project. Orange County Register_ 3/5/08

San Antonio, Texas water board votes to build desalination plant with design-build method

San Antonio Water System's (SAWS) board of trustees agreed to use the design-build method to complete its proposed $200 million desalination project. The project will treat mineralized, saline water from the Wilcox Aquifer to supplement the San Antonio region's water supply from the Edwards Aquifer. Minerals and other impurities will be removed from the water through a process called reverse osmosis. State lawmakers from the 80th Legislature gave water purveyors the right to utilize the design-build method to complete water and wastewater projects. SAWS provides water and wastewater services to more than 1 million customers in the San Antonio regio. San Antonio Business Journal_ 3/4/08

Consolidated Water Co. executive resigning

Consolidated Water Co., a developer and operator of seawater desalination plants, said Tuesday that Jeffrey Parker, the company's executive chairman, plans to step down effective July 4. Parker will continue to serve as non-executive chairman of the board of directors. Parker joined Consolidated Water in 1980 and has been chairman of the board since 1982. He also served as chef executive from 1982 until 2004. AP/CNN_ 3/4/08

North Carolina coastal towns desalt brackish water; too expensive to ship inland

With demand for water increasing as the drought and growth continue, some coastal counties in Eastern North Carolina are tapping a saltier source: rivers of brackish water that flow underground. Pasquotank and Currituck counties awarded contracts last month to start construction of two water treatment works that will eventually produce a combined 6.5 million gallons per day to bolster existing supplies of fresh water and help meet the need for more water in the growing communities. The new $17.5 million Pasquotank plant, which will initially produce 2 million gallons per day, will supplement an existing freshwater treatment plant that is fed by 30 freshwater wells. North Carolina already has about a dozen water plants on the coast that remove salt from water using a process called reverse osmosis -- and at least five more are planned. Pumps force brackish water under pressure through a series of fine filters to remove salt. The process produces high-quality water, experts say, butthe process is typically more costly than conventional treatment of fresh water, and there are environmental concerns about discharging concentrated salt into estuaries or fresh water. As the drought persists, some have asked why inland cities such as Raleigh don't look to the coastline as a water source. But that's not realistic, given the high cost of treating and piping the water. "Reverse osmosis plants are a good option for affluent coastal communities where people have expensive homes, and paying $100 a month for water is not that big a deal," said Bill Holman, a visiting scholar at Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions who is studying state water resources. "The idea of treating large quantities of ocean water and pumping them 100 miles uphill does not seem economically feasible." News Observer_ 3/3/08

Ownership of Australia's Victoria desalination plant could go overseas

The Victorian Government hasn't ruled out allowing a foreign company to run the state's first desalination plant. The $3 billion plant will be built in Wonthaggi and will supply 150 billion litres of water a year to Melbourne and Geelong as part of the plans to drought-proof the state. Construction of the plant is scheduled to commence in 2009 in order to start delivering water by the end of 2011. The Water Minister Tim Holding says he is expecting expressions of interest from Australian and overseas companies in the next few months. ABC News_ 3/3/08

Tarpon Springs, Florida gets $20 million for desalination plant

After years of being told by consultants the state would never help the city build a reverse-osmosis water treatment plant, this month Tarpon Springs proved the experts wrong. The governing board of the Southwest Florida Water Management District Board has approved a $20.1 million grant to help defray the cost of constructing the treatment plant, which will remove salt from well water, rendering it potable. The estimated price tag of the plant is $45 million. Tarpon Springs wants to build the reverse-osmosis plant so it no longer has to buy water from Pinellas County Utilities. The city has little control over what it has to pay the county for water, local officials say. Suncoast News_ 3/1/08

February, 2008

Dutch university tests windmill for seawater desalination

A traditional windmill which drives a pump: that is the simple concept behind the combination of windmill/reverse osmosis developed by the Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) in The Netherlands. In this case, it involves a high-pressure pump which pushes water through a membrane using approximately 60 bar. This reverse osmosis membrane produces fresh water from seawater directly. The windmill is suited for use by, for instance, small villages in isolated, dry coastal areas. In the TU Delft installation, the high-pressure pump is driven directly by wind power and the storage of water is a great deal cheaper than that of electricity. The first prototype is to be dismantled and transported to Curaçao the first week of March. There the concept will be tested on seawater. physorg.com_ 2/29/08

GE plans big desalination ad push for Beijing Olympics

With sales to emerging economies representing the fastest-growing chunk of the company's revenues, General Electric is tackling a more complex problem: How can it effectively prove to potential customers and shareholders in the developed world that GE's creativity is translating into big sales in the developing one? GE's answer, perhaps unsurprisingly, is to make the biggest splash it can at the upcoming Beijing Olympics. The company is building an Imagination Center in the middle of the Olympic Green, a two-story building that is half funhouse, half museum exhibit. And it is putting the finishing touches on a series of print ads and commercials that put an Olympic spin on its effort to bring desalination technology to the Middle East, X-ray technology to China and heart monitoring equipment to India. International Herald Tribune_ 2/27/08

Africa must invest to secure clean water--GE execs

Africa should tackle the prospect of increased water scarcity by investing now in technology and not simply hoping the threat will go away, officials of America's General Electric company said on Sunday. Governments and development partners around the world must also accept that businesses can only provide clean water to users at a price that provides a commercial return, the executives said, explaining it could not be a "gift." "The technological breadth we have puts us in a position to really solve any problem, anywhere," Jeff Garwood, president and CEO of GE Water and Process Technologies, a GE unit, told Reuters in an interview after attending the inauguration in Algeria of Africa's biggest seawater desalination plant. "The only issue is how fast you're going to make a decision and who is going to finance or fund it." Earl Jones, GE Water's general manager, Global Commercial Development, said "You have to make a decision to invest in the infrastructure. Hope is not a method. If you hope that it's just going to rain and that's going to take care of it, you could find yourself in a very critical situation." Garwood said Africa was a "special" case because of the large number of its sources of development finance, many of them spearheaded by celebrities from the world of entertainment. "Bono talks about it, Oprah (Winfrey) talks about it (Rapper) Jay-Z's got a fund, there's a number of people who have earmarked infrastructure development, and we actually have had conversations with most of them." But he said that while businesses would work to drive down costs, they could only provide their technology at a price that ensured a commercial return. Reuters_ 2/24/08

GE and Algerian government inaugurate Africa's largest seawater desalination plant

A persistent shortage of potable water in the City of Algiers, Algeria was eased today as the US $250 million Hamma Seawater Desalination Plant (SWDP) was officially opened by Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and Jeff Garwood president and CEO, GE Water & Process Technologies, a unit of General Electric Company (NYSE: GE). Completed on time and on budget in 24 months, the Hamma SWDP uses GE’s advanced ecomagination-certified reverse osmosis membranes to purify up to 200,000 cubic meters (53 million gallons) of seawater per day -- providing as many as two million residents of Algiers with a reliable and drought-proof supply of fresh water. "Our momentum continues to build and in 2008 we expect to grow GE's large structured projects, like Hamma, by 80 percent," said Garwood. Hamma SWDP is also North Africa’s first large-scale reverse osmosis desalination plant to be funded by a joint venture that combines public and private equity investment. The special project company, Hamma Water Desalination SpA combines 70 percent funding from General Electric and 30 percent from the state-owned Algerian Energy Company. The Overseas Private Investment Company, which helps U.S. businesses invest in new and emerging overseas markets, financed U.S. $200 million towards the project. GE was also awarded a 25-year contract to operate and maintain the plant.   News Release_ 2/23/08

Acciona, United Utilities win bid for Perth, Australia desalination contract

Spanish construction company Acciona (ANA.MC: Quote, Profile, Research) said on Friday its Australian unit and its partner United Utilities Australia have qualified as joint bidders to build and run a desalination plant in Perth. The 300 to 400 million euro ($590 million) project includes designing and operating the plant, aimed to provide water to as many as 400,000 people for 25 years, Acciona said. Reuters_ 2/22/08

Hitachi Zosen Corp. to double overseas sales of desalination plants and other equipment in three years

Hitachi Zosen Corp., the world's third-largest maker of water desalination plants, plans to double overseas sales in three years on demand for its plants, nuclear equipment and incinerators in the Middle East, China and the U.S. The company, which started as a shipyard and makes equipment from garbage incinerators to casks used to transport nuclear fuel, targets sales outside of Japan to reach 30 percent by March 2011 from 15 percent now, President Minoru Furukawa said. ``A lot of water plant projects are lined up in the Middle East,'' he said in a interview in Tokyo. Hitachi Zosen, which may reduce its 50 percent stake in a shipbuilding venture with JFE Holdings Inc., is ``aggressively'' trying to win orders for water plants in a global market expected to grow at an annual rate of 10 percent, Furukawa said. Bloomberg_ 2/22/08

Pakistan's first water desalination and power plant

On Feb 11, 2008 Pakistan reached a milestone called the DHA Desalination and Power Plant. It is the first project of its kind in Pakistan which desalinates water from the Arabian Sea for human consumption as well as provides Electrical Power to the KESC Grid. The capacity of the Power plant is 94 MW (Mega Watts) and that of the desalination plant is 3 MIGD (Million Imperial Gallons per Day). Electrical Power is supplied to the 132 KV (kilo-volt) KESC grid whereas the Desalinated Water is supplied to CBC/DHA for local distribution. The project is carried out by DHA Cogen Limited (DCL). It is a Public Limited Company which was incorporated in the city of Karachi on January 19, 2003. The company is a joint venture between Defence Housing Authority, Karachi (DHA) and Sacoden Investments, Singapore (SI). The contract for building the Power Plant was given to Siemens AG Germany (SAG) who also supplied the two turbines used in the plant. The Desalination Plant is built by Alfa Level, Copenhagen, Denmark (ALC) and the civil works is carried out by Siemens Pakistan (SPK). Pakistaniat.com_ 2/20/08

Long Beach, California says its patented desalination method is a success

More than two years after the first sea water was poured into the test facility at the edge of the city, the Long Beach Method of taking salt and minerals out of water has been deemed a success. In a release Tuesday, the Long Beach Water Department announced that the Long Beach Method had proven 30% more energy efficient than the now-common reverse osmosis method. The testing is being conducted in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Interior, Bureau of Reclamation. The Long Beach Method is known as dual-stage nanofiltration, and was developed by Diem X. Vuong. It has since been patented by the city. The test facility cost $5.4 million to build. The water department and the Bureau of Reclamation also are building another test site for the other problems associated with desalination — biological and environmental damage where water is taken into the system and where the mineral-saturated brine is discarded. It will be at least 2015 before Long Beach residents are drinking any desalinated water. It will take that long to build a full-scale plant, and even then, only 10% of the city’s water supply is expected to be generated from desalination. Gazette Newspapers_ 2/14/08

January, 2008

Desalination and water reuse set for growth as global water crisis comes into focus: Global Water Intelligence market forecast

Forecast author Christopher Gasson says: "Across the world millions of people are dependent on non-renewable water: they are draining the aquifers and depleting the rivers. What is left becomes mineralised, threatening ecosystems and reducing agricultural yields. "People in the developing world are eating more protein, which means more water is needed to grow animal feeds. They also want to grow more crops for biofuel. This puts pressure on food prices, but the real story is in water. That is the ultimate limiting factor. And with urban demand for water growing apace, the only solution is to make more of what we have got. "That means demand management, desalination, and water reuse. Global Water Market 2008 paints a picture of the emergence of a robust global industry. However, the environmental and human cost of getting it wrong is clear." Among the companies expected to gain from the growth of this market are: General Electric, Veolia Environment, Suez, Siemens, Acciona, Abengoa, Christ Water Technologies, Hyflux. News Release_ 1/28/08

After 10 years, largest desalination plant in U.S. finally ready

After 10 years of setbacks, redesigned plans and bankruptcies, the nation's largest desalination plant is up and running. The Tampa Bay plant is in Florida's Hillsborough County. Ken Herd, director of operations and facilities said "It's really important that this process works efficiently. What we have to do is clean the water so we don't foul the reverse osmosis membranes." That's what caused problems in the past. The project went through two other companies. Tests failed repeatedly. Susan Latvala, Pinellas County Commissioner and chairman of the board, for Tampa Bay Water said, "It has never been done at this level in the United States. We were breaking new ground. I don't want to go back and beat up those people who weren't successful. Maybe they took on a challenge that was over their heads." Fox 13 Tampa Bay_ 1/25/08

Floating seawater desalination factory possible solution to northeast Florida water woes

Several fast-growing northeast Florida communities could tap into the Atlantic Ocean for drinking water by anchoring a desalination ship 21/2 miles off the coast. If completed, the floating water factory could become the first major ocean-desalination system in the United States. The idea is to retrofit an oil tanker with filters and powerful pumps that would make up to 25 million gallons of drinking water a day, enough for more than 150,000 people. Project costs are far from clear but could reach $200 million. Without the ocean option, the communities may have to draw from the more fragile St. Johns River, now the focus of a budding water-rights battle between Orlando, Jacksonville and cities in between. Friday, representatives from dozens of northeast Florida governments plan to gather for a summit on how to fight what they think is a major threat to the ecology of the St. Johns. The 310-mile river is coveted by Central Florida utilities, which have been told they cannot pump additional water from the region's prime and imperiled source, the underground Floridan Aquifer. The ultimate river withdrawal could reach 250 million gallons a day. At the same time, quieter talks will continue among the Coquina Coast Cooperators -- including Palm Coast, the counties of Volusia, Flagler and St. Johns and other communities. Besides the tanker idea, the group also is considering a land-based desalination plant. Nearly 130 land-based plants in the state desalinate the lightly salty waters of brackish underground aquifers and Tampa Bay. But no utility in America uses far saltier seawater as a major source, and none relies on a ship to make fresh water. Long Beach, Calif., runs a tiny demonstration plant, and two small plants provide backup supply for the Florida Keys. Orlando Sentinel_ 1/19/08

Florida's Flagler County facing water shortage; desalination an option

Flagler County will face a drinking water deficit in just two short years, water management officials said Thursday. And at least for now, it appears the answer to that problem is to build a desalination plant. But officials haven't decided yet where such a water plant would go or even if it would be in Flagler County. Flagler County residents will be short about 4 million gallons of drinking water per day by 2010 and 20 million gallons per day by 2025, commissioners learned in a water workshop Thursday with the St. Johns River Water Management District.Officials across the region, including most Volusia cities, have been given similar projections by the district and are looking for ways to supplement their use of groundwater. Options in Volusia include a proposal to tap the St. Johns River for drinking water. Several cities and Volusia County may consider partnering with Seminole County to build a plant near the St. Johns River. Florida is home to more desalination facilities than any other state in the country with most of those plants desalinating brackish groundwater, according to Jim Gross, a water district project manager. The nation's largest desalination plant is in Tampa.  Daytona Beach News-Journal_ 1/18/08

Seeking fresh sources, California turns to the salty Pacific, but desalination plants face criticism on environment, costs

Water-short California's search to satisfy its thirst is beginning to focus on a controversial source -- the Pacific Ocean. In November, Connecticut-based Poseidon Resources Corp. won a key regulatory approval to build a $300 million water-desalination plant in Carlsbad, north of San Diego. The facility would be the largest in the Western Hemisphere, producing 50 million gallons of drinking water a day, enough to supply about 100,000 homes. Taking the salt out of seawater is a common way to produce drinking water in the Middle East and in other arid regions. World-wide, 13,080 desalination plants produce more than 12 billion gallons of water a day, according to the International Desalination Association. But it has been less successful in the U.S. Desalination is more expensive than traditional sources, and critics say it harms the ocean. In 1992, Santa Barbara, Calif., shuttered a small plant after three months when rain replenished the county's main water sources. At a plant near Tampa, Fla., that Poseidon was also involved in, technical glitches increased the water's cost and, when it opened in 2003, initially limited output to less than a third of the projected 25 million gallons a day. Southern California water officials say conditions have changed. Improved technology has cut the cost of desalination in half in the past decade, making it more competitive. And traditional water supplies, such as the Colorado River and snow-melt runoff, are becoming less reliable because of population growth and environmental restrictions. Wall Street Journal_ 1/17/08

Desalination plant to make big splash on Brockton, Massachusetts water bills

The Aquaria desalination plant, expected to be ready to pump water this spring, will cost the average city water customer an extra $80 in the first year, according to early estimates. Projections show that water rates for the city's 100,000 customers in Brockton, Whitman and parts of Hanson could rise 40 percent beginning July 1. That means the average customer using 70,000 gallons of water annually would see his bill climb from $200 a year to about $280. The figures are preliminary, based on a study by the consulting firm CDM of Cambridge for the Brockton Water Commission. The commission will review the findings and hold a public hearing before setting the final rates, which must be approved by the City Council. It was the first public look at the financial impact of the Aquaria project, which was conceived a decade ago as a remedy for Brockton's persistent water shortages in the 1980s and 1990s. The Enterprise_ 1/16/08

Environmental groups sue over Poseidon's San Diego County desalination project

Two environmental groups are suing the California Coastal Commission, challenging its approval of a proposed ocean-water desalination plant in Carlsbad. The lawsuit was due to be filed in San Diego Superior Court yesterday, said Marco Gonzalez, an attorney who prepared it on behalf of the Surfrider Foundation and Planning and Conservation League. The 12-page complaint alleges that the desalination project would harm marine life in Agua Hedionda Lagoon, which would be the plant's water source. It also alleges that the commission did not make the findings necessary to approve the project. Connecticut-based Poseidon Resources Inc. proposes a 500-million-gallon-a-day plant on the grounds of the Encina Power Station, at the foot of Cannon Road in Carlsbad. The Coastal Commission's staff rejected Poseidon's proposal four times before clearing the application for consideration, saying that it would kill thousands of fish, larvae and other marine organisms and that there is better technology. It recommended that the commission not approve the project. The commission overrode the recommendation and approved a permit Nov. 15 on a 9-3 vote, but the panel attached more than 20 conditions. The lawsuit targets the desalination plant's intake method, among other issues, saying it does not meet California Coastal Act requirements. Poseidon issued a statement yesterday calling the lawsuit “a desperate last attempt to delay the project,” noting that Surfrider's previous suits were rejected. San Diego Union-Tribune_ 1/15/08

Australia's Queensland government to put mobile desalination plants on river barges

The Queensland government will put mobile desalination plants on the Brisbane River to ensure water supplies if the record drought continues. Acting Premier Paul Lucas said two mobile desalination plants were planned on barges on the Brisbane River at a cost of $550 million. The contingency moves, which would be assessed and approved at the end of the wet season in March or April, could pump an extra 144 megalitres of water a day into the region by the end of next year, even if the worst drought on record worsened. Mr Lucas said the 2006-07 financial year was the worst for rainfall in southeast Queensland in more than a century of records, with just 4.4 per cent of the historical long-term average, he said. The Queensland Water Commission estimated the region's dam storage levels could drop to 7 per cent by 2010, based on 2006-07 inflows, daily usage, evaporation, power needs and additions to the $9 billion water grid as they come online. The  Australian_ 1/6/08



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