Desalination Could Expand Water Supply
When you hear the word desalination, you might picture a massive plant on the coast, sucking salty seawater in and chugging fresh water out. But the process of making salty water drinkable isn’t just for the ocean anymore.
A new plan for desalination has come to Central Texas, which is sitting on a huge mass of “brackish” water: too salty to drink, but far less salty than ocean water. It’s sitting there, below our freshwater aquifers. And there’s enough of it to satisfy the present Texas population for 150 years. But how do we get to it, and how much will it cost?
That’s what the Texas General Land Office wants to know. Today it proposed building some small desalination projects in Central Texas.
The plants would sit on land that belongs to the commission’s Permanent School Fund, along I-35 between Austin and San Antonio.
But isn’t desalination expensive?
“Yeah, it is. It’s about twice as expensive as some of our more traditional ways to acquire water,” said Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson. “The market is in play here. We have the shortage of a commodity. We have increasing demand. Therefore the price of that commodity, what was thought to be expensive in the past, may look like a bargain in the future.”
Patterson says that if all goes well, they could be breaking ground on the first of the plants in 18 months.