Reclamation to fund $1.4M for nine desalination, water purification research projects

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WASHINGTON, DC, Aug. 11, 2014 -- Nine research projects and pilot studies will soon receive $1.4 million from the Bureau of Reclamation to address desalination and water purification needs. Reclamation's Desalination and Water Purification Research Program will provide the funding for four research laboratory-scale projects and three pilot testing projects. Two previously announced pilot-scale projects will receive second-year funding.

"New desalination and water purification technologies have the potential to assist Reclamation and its partners confront the widening imbalances between supply and demand in river basins throughout the West," Reclamation Acting Commissioner Lowell Pimley said. "Fostering development of new technologies will help improve the options communities have to be resilient to climate change and meet future water demands."

Research laboratory projects are small-scale projects used to determine if a process is feasible. Funding is provided for one year and is capped at $150,000 per project. Projects selected for funding are:

  • University of Houston (Texas): Advanced Pretreatment for Nanofiltration of Brackish Surface Water: Fouling Control and Water Quality Improvements; $150,000
  • California State Polytechnic University, Pomona: Development of Photovoltaic Electrodialysis Desalination System; $99,992
  • University of Texas at San Antonio: Activated Sludge Aeration Waste Heat for Membrane Evaporation of Desalination Brine Concentrate; $85,587
  • West Basin Municipal Water District (California): Subsurface Intake Study for Ocean-Water Desalination; $150,000

Pilot-scale projects are preceded by research studies that demonstrate a technology works. The goal of a pilot study is to determine the physical viability and suitability of a process on a larger scale. Projects selected for funding are:

  • Eastern Municipal Water District (California): Pilot Scale Groundwater Desalter Brine Concentrator Study; $131,057
  • New Mexico State University: Demonstration of Monovalent Selective Ion Exchange Membranes for Desalination and Reuse Enhancement; $199,944
  • San Diego County Water Authority (California): Pilot Testing Program for the Proposed Camp Pendleton Seawater Desalination Project; $200,000

If the selected pilot projects complete a sufficient amount of work in the first year, they may receive additional funding for a second year. The Eastern Municipal Water District is a one-year project. Also, two pilot studies announced in 2013 will receive funding for their second year of testing. Those pilot studies are:

  • City of Corpus Christi (Texas): City of Corpus Christi Desalination Pilot Study; $200,000
  • University of Arizona: Reverse Osmosis Concentrate Management through Halophyte Farming; $186,328

A complete description of all the projects is available at: http://www.usbr.gov/awt.

The Desalination and Water Purification Program is helping Reclamation and its partners confront widening imbalances between supply and demand in basins throughout the West through testing and development of new advanced water treatment technologies. It focuses on three main goals:

  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.

See also:

"New partnership to highlight innovation in desalination science"

"Reclamation seeks proposals through desalination research funding opportunity"

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