California city looks to sea for water in drought

May 4, 2014

With California in a drought, the coastal city of Santa Barbara is thinking about firing up a desalination plant that has been in storage for more than two decades.

The city built the plant in the 1990s during the last drought but turned it on for only three months after eliminated the need for extra water.

Desalination involves removing salt from ocean water or groundwater, but it's not a quick drought-relief option. It takes years of planning and overcoming red tape to launch a project.

Water officials estimate the plant will need $20 million in technological upgrades. Any restart would require City Council approval, which won't vote until next spring after reviewing engineering plans and the latest drought conditions.

Many environmentalists think desalination should be a last resort.

Explore further: Singapore to triple desalination capacity by 2013

Related Stories

Singapore to triple desalination capacity by 2013

March 7, 2011

Singapore will more than triple its desalinated water capacity in two years' time when the country's second and largest desalination plant starts operations, the government said Monday.

Britain unveils desalination plant for London reservoirs

April 25, 2011

( -- Britain has brought online a new desalination plant near London capable of providing the city with 150 million gallons (568 million litres) of water per day, should the need arise. At a cost of £270 ...

NASA turns research to California drought

February 26, 2014

(AP)—NASA scientists have begun deploying satellites and other advanced technology to help California water officials assess the state's record drought and better manage it, officials said Tuesday.

Desalination plant to be built in Gaza

March 20, 2014

The European Union and UNICEF launched a project Thursday to build a desalination plant in the Gaza Strip to provide 75,000 Palestinians with drinking water.

Recommended for you

Horn of Africa drying ever faster as climate warms

October 9, 2015

The Horn of Africa has become increasingly arid in sync with the global and regional warming of the last century and at a rate unprecedented in the last 2,000 years, according to new research led by a University of Arizona ...

Could 'The Day After Tomorrow' happen?

October 9, 2015

A researcher from the University of Southampton has produced a scientific study of the climate scenario featured in the disaster movie 'The Day After Tomorrow'.

History shows more big wildfires likely as climate warms

October 5, 2015

The history of wildfires over the past 2,000 years in a northern Colorado mountain range indicates that large fires will continue to increase as a result of a warming climate, according to new study led by a University of ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet May 04, 2014
Aren't they due a really juicy el Nino starting this Autumn ??

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.