In the News

Rep. Napolitano Introduces Desalination Bill

States News Service
July 27, 2011

The following information was released by the office of California Rep. Grace Napolitano:

Today, Rep. Grace F. Napolitano (D-CA) introduced H.R. 2664, the Reauthorization of Water Desalination Act of 2011, which would fund federal research and development projects into desalination, the conversion of seawater into freshwater.

"Desalination is another promising source of water, especially for western states, and these programs deserve federal support," Napolitano said. "If we can continue to perfect the technologies and bring down the cost of producing new water from the ocean, we will have a reliable, drought-proof source of water and a powerful engine for economic growth. The desalination projects previously funded by these programs have delivered new discoveries since they began in 1996, and they will continue to improve desalination if given proper support."

The bill reauthorizes the Desalination Act of 1996, allocating $2 million a year through 2016. Since 1996, projects or studies have been funded in more than half of the 50 states, with 38 projects being funded in California alone.

Some of the programs' discoveries include determining how to dispose of saline wastewater, establishing uniform industry standards for common desalination components, funding "brackish" water projects to desalinate groundwater, discovering how to withdraw seawater from below the seafloor to minimize environmental damage, and developing reverse osmosis membrane pretreatment to improve desalination.

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