They used to call California ocean desalination a disaster. But water crisis brings new look
A massive, decades-long drought over much of the state has forced the state to turn to desalination to find its ever-scarce water supply. The use of desalination to supply water in California has exploded since the 1950s as the state has suffered an epic drought.
This week, more than 20 people were killed as a result of Hurricane Matthew in the Bahamas. The United Nations said the disaster could be linked to climate change, and scientists said the storm was likely to become more frequent in the future as a result of climate change.
These are all serious developments that will undoubtedly lead to new water initiatives in California that are more proactive in planning the state’s water supply.
How did California become so dependent on desalination?
The state’s water crisis began in earnest in the 1960s. With a lack of fresh water, scientists predicted that California would face a shortage over the next half-century.
A shortage is something that California is very familiar with. The state has a long history of dealing with water shortages, and has done so by finding ways to conserve water.
In the 1950s, the state was forced to increase storage and conservation measures in response to dry farmland and droughts that had become a problem throughout the state.
In the mid-1960s, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) was formed after Governor Ronald Reagan signed the California State Water Resources Act.
A decade later, the state established the first state-supported desalination plant on the Central Coast of California, to supply fresh water to residents while they were living on the Central Coast. Today, more than 400 miles of desalination plant have been built throughout the state.
The state is also facing a serious shortage of the most basic resource — water itself.
While California had been able to manage its water supply largely independently before 1960, the state now relies far more on desalination.
The state is also dependent on