Supply from the sea: Exploring ocean desalination

Posted February 2006

By Jeff Szytel

As explained in this February 2005 AWWA Journal article, most ocean desalination (desal) facilities are located along the coasts in the energy-rich Middle East. However, ocean desal is a growing market in Spain, England, the United States, and Mexico. Several trends have contributed to the advancement of ocean desal both in the United States and abroad in recent years. These trends include consistent improvements in desal technology, increased governmental subsidy, increased consideration of co-location with power plants, and more frequent use of collaborative approaches that bring private sector and public entities together for project development. Although there are still many barriers to large-scale implementation of ocean desalination, advances in technology, water policy, economic allocation, and public awareness will continue to drive the development of ocean desalination projects well into the foreseeable future.

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