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Committee on Advancing Desalination Technology Water Science and Technology Board Division on Earth and Life Studies THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the panel responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. Support for this study was provided by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation un- der Grant No. 06CS811198. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recom- mendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-11923-8 (Book) International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-11923-5 (Book) International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-11924-5 (PDF) International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-11924-3 (PDF) Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 2008933274 Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 5th Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu. Copyright 2008 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America.
The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal gov- ernment on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of out- standing engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academyâs purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engi- neering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org
COMMITTEE ON ADVANCING DESALINATION TECHNOLOGY AMY K. ZANDER, Chair, Clarkson University, Potsdam, New York MENACHEM ELIMELECH, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut DAVID H. FURUKAWA, Separation Consultants Inc., Poway, California PETER GLEICK, Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security, Oakland, California KENNETH R. HERD, Southwest Florida Water Management District, Brooksville, Florida KIMBERLY L. JONES, Howard University, Washington, DC PHILIP ROLCHIGO, Pentair, Inc., Golden Valley, Minnesota SANDEEP SETHI, Carollo Engineers, Sarasota, Florida JOHN TONNER, Water Consultants International, Mequon, Wisconsin HENRY J. VAUX, University of California, Berkeley JUDITH S. WEIS, Rutgers University, Newark, New Jersey WARREN W. WOOD, Michigan State University, East Lansing NRC Staff STEPHANIE E. JOHNSON, Study Director LAURA J. EHLERS, Interim Study Director (October 2006 to January 2007) MICHAEL J. STOEVER, Senior Program Assistant v
Preface Water is necessary for life. Provision of a safe, reliable, and sustain- able water supply to communities is an essential function of water utili- ties in the United States. As climate changes, population grows, and local water scarcity concerns heighten, desalination of brackish water and seawater is increasingly considered as an option for a source of new wa- ter to meet anticipated water supply needs. Desalination opens the door to conversion of the vast ocean and brackish inland water bodies into usable water for municipalities. Given the possibilities for clean water supply, desalination technology adoption in the United States lags behind that of many other countries. Concerns have been raised that technologi- cal barriers and financial costs prohibit broader desalination implementa- tion. The committee formed by the Water Science and Technology Board of the National Research Council (NRC) performed a critical analysis of current desalination technologies and the barriers to widespread imple- mentation and addressed the development of a national strategic research agenda for desalination. The report presents a brief history of desalina- tion research and research funding in the United States, presents issues of water sufficiency and the potential for desalination to meet anticipated supply needs, and outlines the current state of the science in desalination technology. Environmental issues are examined, along with the costs of the technology and recent trends in cost compared with other water sup- ply options, including conservation. Practical implementation aspects are analyzed. The issues are combined, leading to a framework for a strate- gic national research agenda in desalination, involving both federal and nonfederal inputs. The agenda is needed to understand and mitigate envi- ronmental impacts of source water withdrawal and concentrate discharge and to marginally reduce the financial costs of desalination. vii
viii Preface I thank the committee members for the contribution of their unique and individual expertise, intellect, and time to the preparation of this consensus report. The committee expertise comes from many areas, all of which were essential to the preparation of the report under a rather ag- gressive time schedule. The committee members offered many hours of personal time to the preparation of a report of which they can all be proud. Each member contributed consistently and tirelessly to the overall report. Committee views were all considered carefully in the study proc- ess, and I thank them for their technical and intellectual contributions and collaborative spirit. The successful preparation of this report was also in large part due to the NRC staff members for their skills and dedication. Stephanie John- son, senior staff officer, made certain committee contributions were timely and on task, contributed personally to writing sections of the re- port, and thoroughly edited the completed report to bring the various committee contributions to a single voice. Her persistence, attention to detail, and organization were essential to the quality of the final product. The committee was quite capably assisted by Michael Stoever, project assistant, who handled administrative details of the meetings and aided in report preparation. Thanks are also due to Laura Ehlers, senior staff offi- cer, who stepped in to take the reins for a few months early in the com- mittee process when her assistance was needed and greatly appreciated. The committee is grateful to the sponsors who provided support for the study. This report was undertaken at the request of the Department of the InteriorâBureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Environmental Protec- tion Agency. The sponsors gave generously of their time as well, inform- ing the committee of issues they face and responding to questions from the group. This report was reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their breadth of perspectives and technical expertise in accordance with the procedures approved by the National Academiesâ Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review was to provide can- did and critical comments to assist the institution in ensuring that its pub- lished report is scientifically credible and that it meets institutional stan- dards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The reviewer comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to pro- tect the deliberative process. We thank the following reviewers for their helpful suggestions, all of which were considered and many of which were wholly or partly incorporated in the final report: Robert Cheng, Long Beach Water Department; Lisa Henthorne-Jenkel, CH2M Hill, Inc.; Sabine Lattemann, University of Oldenburg; Noam Lior, University of Pennsylvania; Daniel P. Loucks, Cornell University; Thomas Luster,
Preface ix California Coastal Commission; Michael Mickley, Mickley & Associ- ates; Jonas Minton, Planning and Conservation League; Hayden H. Murray, University of Indiana; Robert L. Riley, Separation Systems Technology, Inc.; David Stewart, Stewart Environmental Consultants, Inc.; R. Rhodes Trussell, Trussell Technologies, Inc.; Dale Whittington, University of North Carolina; and Alicia Wilson, University of South Carolina. Although these reviewers provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions and recom- mendations nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Michael C. Kavanaugh, Mal- colm Pirnie, Inc., and Marcia K. McNutt, Monterey Bay Aquarium Re- search Institute. Appointed by the NRC, they were responsible for mak- ing certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments received full consideration. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the NRC. Amy K. Zander, Chair Committee on Advancing Desalination Technology
Acknowledgments Many individuals assisted the committee and the National Research Council staff in their task to create this report. We would like to express our appreciation to the following people who have provided presenta- tions to the committee, served as guides during the field trips, and pro- vided comments to the committee: Presentations Dave Akers, Colorado Water Quality Protection Division Ashie Akpoji, South Florida Water Management District Rick Arber, Arber and Associates Edmund Archuleta, El Paso Desalination Facility Paul Armistead, Office of Naval Research Jorge Arroyo, Texas Water Development Board Richard Atwater, Desalination in the Inland Empire Maryanne Bach, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Mark Barcelo, Southwest Florida Watershed Management District Robert Bastian, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Richard Bell, Dana Point Ocean Desalination Project Ann Codrington, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Jeff Graham, Scripps Institute Bruce Muller, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Robert Hirsch, U.S. Geological Survey Scott Jenkins, Scripps Institute Fawzi Karajeh, California Office of Water Use Efficiency and Transfers Richard Kottenstette, Sandia National Laboratories Jim Kundell, Carl Vinson Institute of Government UGA Chris Rayburn, AWAARF Robert Reiss, Reiss Environmental Michelle K. Robinson, APR Dave Stewart, Stewart Environmental Consultants, Inc. Barbara Vergara, St. Johnâs River Watershed Management District Robert Yamada, San Diego Water Authority Field Trip Guides Robert Cheng, Long Beach Water Department Ken Herd, Tampa Bay Water Eric Sabolsice, American Water-Pridesa Kevin Wattier, Long Beach Water Department xi
Contents SUMMARY 1 1 INTRODUCTION 13 Saline Water as a Water Supply Alternative, 13 Statement of Committee Task and Report Overview, 16 2 HISTORICAL AND CONTEMPORARY CONTEXT FOR DESALINATION 19 Status of Desalination Use, 19 History of Desalination Research and Development, 25 Current Desalination Research Funding and Oversight, 28 Conclusions and Recommendations, 36 3 WATER FOR THE FUTURE 38 Elements of Water Sufficiency, 40 Options for Maintaining Water Sufficiency, 52 Conclusions and Recommendations, 57 4 STATE OF THE TECHNOLOGY 59 Feedwater Intake Options, 60 Pretreatment, 65 Desalination Processes, 71 Post-Treatment, 97 Concentrate and Residuals Management, 97 Conclusions and Recommendations, 105 5 ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES 108 Source Water Acquisition, 108 Concentrate Management, 119 xiii
xiv Contents Water Quality Issues in Desalinated Product Waters, 138 Greenhouse Gas Emissions, 141 Conclusions and Recommendations, 144 6 THE COSTS AND BENEFITS OF DESALINATION 147 General Considerations, 147 The Structure of Desalination Costs, 150 The Structure of Benefits, 176 Conclusions and Recommendations, 178 7 IMPLEMENTATION ISSUES 182 Environmental Regulatory Issues, 182 Public Perception, 186 Siting Considerations of Co-location, 190 Planning and Design with New Technologies, 193 Finished Water Quality Changes and Effects of Existing Infrastructure, 195 Capital and Operating Costs, 196 Project Delivery Methods, 198 Project Financing, 206 Conclusions and Recommendations, 210 8 A STRATEGIC RESEARCH AGENDA FOR DESALINATION 212 Long-Term Research Goals, 213 Strategic Desalination Research Agenda, 214 Implementing the Research Agenda, 226 Conclusions and Recommendations, 231 REFERENCES 233 GLOSSARY 262 APPENDIXES A Desalination Federal Funding Survey 269 B Mass and Energy Balance on Reverse Osmosis System 275 C Desalination Economics Summary Data 279 D Estimating Unit Costs of Water Supply Options 286 E Water Science and Technology Board 291 F Biographical Sketches for Committee on Advancing Desalination Technology 293