California Desalination Planning Handbook


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Introduction:
Desalination is receiving increased attention as a means for addressing the water supply challenges of California. Growing population, much of which is located in semi-arid regions of the state, and various other water demands pose increased pressure on existing water supplies. Much of California’s water supply depends on snow accumulation in the winter, providing spring runoff that flls reservoirs and replenishes often depleted groundwater supplies. But in periods of drought, water supply shortages can be encountered throughout the state, particularly in the central valley and southern portion of the state. All indications suggest the impacts of global warming will include a change in the timing of runoff and less snowfall. This will put more pressure on existing supplies, and exacerbate the impacts of drought. As the implications of global warming become clearer, more emphasis will likely be given to developing
new sources of water supply to meet existing and projected demand. While conservation and recycling are recommended as the frst course of action, other alternatives (such as desalination and increased surface and groundwater storage) are receiving increased attention.

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