Reclamation awards $3.62 million for desalination research; California to receive nearly $899,000

The Bureau of Reclamation has announced funding of $3.63 million they will provide to 13 states to conduct laboratory and pilot-scale desalination and water purification research. The Desalination and Water Purification Research (DWPR) Program is designed to aid Reclamation and its partners in confronting widening imbalances between supply and demand in basins throughout the Western United States through testing and development of new advanced water treatment technologies.

“Desalination and water treatment provide a potential new source of water for communities throughout the West,” Bureau of Reclamation Acting Commissioner Alan Mikkelsen said. “The research funding provided today will enable new technologies to be studied to see if they can help improve the treatment of water.”

Four California projects are part of the DWPR Program and account for $898,922 of the funds awarded by Reclamation. The $3.62 million in federal funding is being matched by $3.52 million in non-federal funds. Sixteen laboratory projects, four new pilot-scale projects and one California continuing pilot-scale project were selected.

Three main goals comprise the Desalination and Water Purification Research Program: (1) augment the supply of usable water in the United States; (2) understand the environmental impacts of desalination and develop approaches to minimize these impacts relative to other water supply alternatives; (3) develop approaches to lower the financial costs of desalination so that it is an attractive option relative to other alternatives in locations where traditional sources of water are inadequate.

The list of funded projects includes three classifications: (1) laboratory-scale projects are bench-scale studies that are to be completed within one year; (2) pilot-scale studies are larger and are completed in two years; (3) a second-year continuing pilot-scale project from fiscal year 2016.

Of the laboratory-scale projects Orange County Water District (OCWD), based in Fountain Valley, has been awarded $149,894 from Reclamation. Two California entities will receive Reclamation funding for pilot-scale testing – OCWD will receive $249,966 and the Regents of the University of California, Los Angeles have been awarded $299,062. Eastern Municipal Water District (EMWD) in the Riverside city of Perris is receiving $200,000 for the second-year continuing pilot-scale project from fiscal year 2016. EMWD is the only agency of 21 funded projects in the 13 states receiving Reclamation funding for the laboratory and pilot-scale desalination and water purification research to be receiving funds for the second-year continuing pilot-scale projects.

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