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Study: Desalination Too Costly

(Photo: The Carlsbad Desalination Project would consist of a 50 million gallon per day (56,000 acre-feet per year (AFY) seawater desalination plant and associated water delivery pipelines. Posiedon Resources )

A new report says ocean water desalination is not the answer for drought and water shortages. The report comes as a Connecticut-based company moves forward with plans to build a desal plant in Carlsbad. KPBS Environment Reporter Ed Joyce has details.

The non-profit consumer advocacy group Food and Water Watch says the costs of desalination plants exceed the benefits.

Mark Schlosberg, the group's California Director, says the financial, environmental and social costs of desal technology don't add up.

Schlosberg: Instead of spending money on desalination, which is not sustainable, we should spend money and develop a national trust fund to repair our leaking pipes and save that six billion gallons of water a day that we currently are losing.

The group's report, Desalination: An Ocean of Problems , recommends alternatives including efficient water management practices such as conservation and reuse.

Schlosberg says desalination requires large amounts of energy and the emissions created by the process contribute to climate change.

The study also says water should be considered an essential public resource and not a commodity to be entrusted to private corporations.

Ed Joyce, KPBS News.

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