The scarcity of water in California has reached astounding levels. The state is looking to various means and resources to remedy this situation. According to Scripps, aboutÂ Â 20 water agencies up and down the California coast are favoring desalination projects as a method to deal with drought.
“People are worried about water supply,” said Michael Carlin, assistant general manager of water at the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. “Desalination is for drought supply, for an emergency, and it augments existing supply — it’s another tool in our toolbox.”
Poseidon Resources, a Connecticut based water Â infrastructure development company, has recently gained approval from CaliforniaÂ state regulatorsÂ to build the Western Hemisphereâ€™s largest desalination plant in Carlsbad (near San Diego).Â The $300 million Carlsbad Desalination Project will have significant economic benefits for the region, including an estimated $170 million in spending during construction, 2,100 jobs created during construction and $37 million in annual spending throughout the region once the desalination plant is operational.
But desalination is a highly contested issue as many environmentalists regard it as a quick fix that can cause more harm in the long term, than good.Â The briny byproduct of desalination is typically dumped into the ocean and tends to sink to the bottom as a salty, oxygen deficient plume. This can be detrimental to marine life and fisheries nearby.