Five large municipal water agencies have joined together to advocate for a significantly increased federal role in encouraging desalination. The group sees desalination as a viable, cost effective means of making seawater and brackish groundwater reliable sources to supplement national drinking water supplies.
The new group, called "The United States Desalination Coalition," intends to ask Congress to approve legislation aimed at providing financial incentives and grants for the development of desalination treatment facilities.
"The issue of scarce water has become so serious that we no longer can afford not to invest in desalination," said Bernie Rhinerson, chairman of the San Diego County Water Authority and a member of the new coalition's board of directors. "This coalition of water agencies intends to raise the visibility of desalination at the federal level as a viable tool for addressing the long term challenges posed by drought, increasing population, and growing business and agricultural demands."
At the outset, the U.S. Desalination Coalition is comprised of five large water agencies in California. They are: City of Los Angeles Department of Water & Power, Municipal Water District of Orange County, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, San Diego County Water Authority and West Basin Municipal Water District.
Coalition Executive Director Hal Furman, a senior official in the Reagan Interior Department, said: "Our coalition will grow as water agencies in other states learn about our goals and approach. The need for a new, reliable supply of clean water extends across the nation."
Coalition members, primarily municipal water agencies, agree to share equally in the costs of the initiative. Other interested parties are welcome to support and participate in the coalition's activities at a reduced cost.