The Carlsbad Desalination Plant has operated in Carlsbad for more than a year now and has been a “game-changer for the San Diego County.” It produces up to 56,000 acre-feet of water each year and reduces California’s reliance on imported water from the Sacramento - San Joaquin Bay Delta. The plant has received multiple awards and was named Energy Champion by San Diego Electric for the plant’s commitment in “sustainability, energy efficiency, and conservation.”
Now, a second desalinization facility is being developed in Huntington Beach. The plant has met great success and is now being considered the next course in providing water to the masses. However, one should consider that the process of desalinization is not without its grand faults either.
Desalinization is the process of removing salts and mineral from water. This process is used to change seawater into drinkable fresh water. The use of desalinization provides us with water and will continue to give us a steady supply even in droughts like the ones California has been experiencing several months ago.
It also costs billions of money to create the plant and run it. The Carlsbad Desalinization plant customers all pay 5 more dollars per month. It will be the businesses, agricultural, and water utility customers who will have to pay for the plant and the production of the water.
What should be most noted, however, is not the cost but the effects of desalinization to the environment. When water is desalinized, not all of the water is changed into clean water. The rest is left and is discharged somewhere else. This “somewhere else” is usually the environment. The water is usually taken back to the sea and the area where the water has been discharged will become more than twice as salty as it used to be, making it impossible for life to survive.
Some projects, has even considered pumping the discharged water underground which might not effect the ocean but will certainly effect our underground reservoirs. Desalinization plants, although with the important benefit of providing the human society with clean drinking water, will impact marine life, pollute the surrounding area, and cause prices to rise. The question is, is desalinization the future of water? And if so, does the benefits outweigh the costs?
<Ji Hyun Park Crean Lutheran HS 11th Grade