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Desalination: A National Perspective Appendix A Desalination Federal Funding Survey
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Desalination: A National Perspective National Academy of Sciences Committee on Advancing Desalination Technology Federal Funding Survey February 15, 2007 Background As water supplies face growing demands, desalination and water reuse continue to evolve as an alternative to expand usable water supplies. Desalination technologies are no longer applied only to seawater source waters. Applications have expanded to convert inland brackish ground- and surface waters in many Western states over the past 5-10 years. A comparison by Reclamation indicates that the cost to convert saline and other impaired sources of water into usable water supplies is now competitive with, or lower than, many of the water rates charged throughout the United States and abroad. This suggests that the long-sought research goal of lowering the cost of desalination technologies so that it is a more cost-competitive water supply alternative may now be achieved or within reach. Against this backdrop, the commercial sector, nonprofit organizations, academia, international entities, and multiple federal, state, and local agencies have been investing more time and money in implementing, maturing, and advancing desalination technologies. Because of these recent advances, and increased national and international attention, the future directions for advancing and implementing desalination and water purification technologies are at a critical juncture in the United States. Reclamation and the Environmental Protection Agency are currently funding the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to study the role of the federal government in advancing desalination technology. Assessing the current situation also indicates that a strong, international industry presence has emerged around desalination and other water purification technologies. When there is a strong industry presence, market forces have the ability to advance and mature technologies through industry investments. Under these conditions, the need and role for federal research investments should be carefully reassessed. Reclamation has requested definition of the appropriate role for federal research as one of the key tasks for the NAS Committee on Advancing Desalination Technology to address, as described in the Project Scope below.
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Desalination: A National Perspective As part of the President’s Management Agenda, the Administration’s research and development (R&D) investment criteria direct federal agencies to prevent federal R&D investments in areas with established industries where the federal investment may discourage, or even displace, industry investments that would otherwise occur. Because Reclamation views the state of technology and the future role of research to be at a critical juncture, the first step in Reclamation’s strategy is having the NAS conduct a thorough evaluation of the state of technology, opportunities, obstacles, and the practical aspects of implementing these technologies.
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Desalination: A National Perspective National Academy of Science Committee on Advancing Desalination Technology R&D Funding Survey In order to better understand the current scope of the federal role in desalination research, the NAS committee would appreciate receiving some input from the agencies involved in desalination research and development. Agency: Contact: Title: Phone: Email: Please provide budget information for your agencies desalination R&D (basic research, applied research, and development – see OMB definitions at the bottom of the next page*) for FY2005, FY2006, and FY2007. Please note that subsidies for the construction of desalination facilities should NOT be included here but will be addressed in question #8. FY2005 FY2006 FY2007 Requested Appropriated Expended Please provide topical categories of desalination research that your agency conducts. Please provide project titles (at the minimum) for currently supported research. Please approximate the percentage of your investment in basic research, applied research, and development (following the OMB definitions below*). What percentage of your investment do you consider to be in high-risk versus low-risk research areas? Please provide your definition of “high-risk” research.
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Desalination: A National Perspective What percentage of your investment is in long-term research (> 3 years for government) versus short-term research (< 3 years for government)? Irrespective of your organization's mission, what do you think are the nation’s top high-risk desalination research priorities? What do you think are the most promising technologies or innovations for advancing desalination? Does your agency provide funds to subsidize the construction of desalination facilities for coastal seawater, inland brackish groundwater, or inland surface water? If so please provide budget information in the table below. FY2005 FY2006 FY2007 Requested Appropriated Expended Does your agency fund advanced water treatment research for water reuse and/or water recycling applications (e.g., reverse osmosis)? If so please provide budget information for advanced water treatment research not included in your answer to question #1 in the table below. FY2005 FY2006 FY2007 Requested Appropriated Expended Please briefly describe your agency’s historical involvement in desalination research prior to FY2005. Please provide levels of investment and types of research.
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Desalination: A National Perspective * OMB Research Definitions (OMB Circular A-11) Basic Research – “Basic research is defined as systematic study directed toward fuller knowledge or understanding of the fundamental aspects of phenomena and of observable facts without specific applications towards processes or products in mind.” Applied Research – “Applied research is defined as systematic study to gain knowledge or understanding necessary to determine the means by which a recognized and specific need may be met.” Development – “Development is defined as systematic application of knowledge or understanding, directed toward the production of useful materials, devices, and systems or methods, including design, development, and improvement of prototypes and new processes to meet specific requirements.”