There has been an exponential increase in desalination capacity both globally and nationally since 1960, fueled in part by growing concern for local water scarcity and made possible to a great extent by a major federal investment for desalination research and development. Traditional sources of supply are increasingly expensive, unavailable, or controversial, but desalination technology offers the potential to substantially reduce water scarcity by converting the almost inexhaustible supply of seawater and the apparently vast quantities of brackish groundwater into new sources of freshwater. Desalination assesses the state of the art in relevant desalination technologies, and factors such as cost and implementation challenges. It also describes reasonable long-term goals for advancing desalination technology, posits recommendations for action and research, estimates the funding necessary to support the proposed research agenda, and identifies appropriate roles for governmental and nongovernmental entities.
Committee on Advancing Desalination Technology, National Research Council
1 Front Matter; 2 Summary; 3 1 Introduction; 4 2 Historical and Contemporary Context for Desalination; 5 3 Water for the Future; 6 4 State of the Technology; 7 5 Environmental Issues; 8 6 The Costs and Benefits of Desalination; 9 7 Implementation Issues; 10 8 A Strategic Research Agenda for Desalination; 11 References; 12 Glossary; 13 Appendix A: Desalination Federal Funding Survey; 14 Appendix B: Mass and Energy Balance on Reverse Osmosis System; 15 Appendix C: Desalination Economics Summary Data; 16 Appendix D: Estimating Unit Costs of Water Supply Options; 17 Appendix E: Water Science and Technology Board; 18 Appendix F: Biographical Sketches for Committee on Advancing Desalination Technology