Amid Drought, Water Desalination Gets Attractive

Desalination may be key to Texas' water woes

By Juan Carlos Llorca
|  Wednesday, Jan 4, 2012  |  Updated 9:35 AM CDT
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Amid Drought, Water Desalination Gets Attractive

AP

A man holds treated water and raw seawater in Brownsville, Texas.

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Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is visiting El Paso's desalination plant, showcasing the technology as an answer to West Texas' chronic water woes and to a statewide water supply that's increasingly overtaxed by drought and population growth.

Salazar will join Democratic Congressman Silvestre Reyes of El Paso on Wednesday at the plant. The facility takes in salty water from an underground aquifer and makes it drinkable. It's the largest inland facility of its type in the world.

The plant was built through a partnership of El Paso's local water utility and Fort Bliss as a response to the region's water shortages. The $87 million facility began operating in 2007.

Local officials say such plants are becoming cheaper and more efficient, and will increasingly help the state.

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