Opponents of a proposed desalination facility along the Huntington Beach coastline are aghast that Gov. Gavin Newsom has taken steps to help end a years-long regulatory logjam. Although an environmentalist, the governor clearly recognizes the importance of developing new water sources to meet California’s needs. Privately funded facilities plants that turn saltwater into drinking water aren’t the only solution to California’s water shortages, but they are one solution. For instance, a similar plant in Carlsbad has the capacity to meet 9 percent of San Diego County’s water needs.
Researchers at Stanford are working on a technology that may be needed more than ever over the next decade, especially if new predictions are accurate. Researchers have recently warned of a potential mega-drought in the western United States – conditions so dry that our drinking water supplies could be facing historic pressures. Experts say keeping the taps flowing could require a patchwork of solutions, including potentially increasing the use of desalination, turning saltwater into drinking water.