California water officials have approved $34.4 million in grants to eight desalination projects across the state, including one in the East Bay city of Antioch, as part of an effort to boost the water supply in the wake of the state's historic, five-year drought.
The money comes from Proposition 1, a water bond passed by state voters in November 2014 during the depths of the drought, and it highlights a new trend in purifying salty water for human consumption: only one of the projects is dependent on the ocean.
Instead, six of the winning proposals are for brackish desalination and one is for research at the University of Southern California. In brackish desalination, salty water from a river, bay or underground aquifer is filtered for drinking, rather than taking ocean water, which is often up to three times saltier and more expensive to purify.
(AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi, File) In this Sept. 4, 2015 photo is the Carlsbad, Calif. desalination plant. America’s largest seawater desalination plant, the $1 billion facility produces 50 million gallons of drinking water for the San Diego area each day, but at a cost double the price of other sources