Californians need water, but desalination projects are bogged down

Officials blame the slow progress on red tape, a disorganized local industry and environmental opposition.

December 04, 2010|By Tiffany Hsu, Los Angeles Times

Chugging a cool glass of California tap? It could be seawater flowing from that faucet.

Desalination — the process of making salty water drinkable — is now producing a growing share of the national water supply as officials scramble to hydrate booming populations with dwindling fresh supply.

“The availability of water is lessening and the cost is going up, to the point that desalination in California is becoming viable as an option,” said Paul Shoenberger, manager of the Mesa Consolidated Water District in Costa Mesa.

More than 15,000 plants are churning out tens of billions of drinkable gallons daily in more than 100 countries.

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