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California - clean Oceans, fresh drinking water, desalination: a bright or dismal future?

Prosser, Denise (2018) California - clean Oceans, fresh drinking water, desalination: a bright or dismal future? Master Essay, University of Pittsburgh.

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In California there is a concern about the growing need for fresh water. This has been fueled by drought and increases in water demand by both increased agriculture and population. Ocean desalination has been a proposed answer to this water shortage as a source of drought proof water as cost trends favor the use of reverse osmosis (RO) plants over distillation/ multistage flash (MSF) plants and as municipal water costs have been on the rise. Ocean desalination however imposes increases in environmental impacts to the ocean marine biota in part to the ocean water intakes and the release of the resulting brine discharge. Undiluted brine has a composition similar to ocean water, but is twice as concentrated. Few historical Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA)’s are available to guide the future of ocean desalination. More recent EIA’s and case studies show that indirect underground water intakes harm less marine biota and use less chemicals for the prevention of RO membrane fouling. This results in lesser amounts of used chemicals, leading to fewer chemicals that are eliminated in the brine or waste product of the RO process. Brine is disposed of by delivering it back to the ocean where effects on marine biota can be profound if not diluted or dispersed. Oceans supply people with food giving life to populations around the world and support lifestyles, where changes in our oceans can have many downstream impacts to people around the world. Environmental law is constantly changing to curb the destructions of the ocean environment including the laws governing ocean desalination plants. In California, these can be found in the Ocean Plan. Environmental law under the Ocean Plan has recently supported safeguards to protect the ocean including 4 newly proposed regulations. The recent history of ocean desalination in California and increasing regulations to curb environmental impacts is guiding California in the right direction for using ocean desalination as a valuable source of drought proof water while upholding Public Health concerns.


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Item Type: Other Thesis, Dissertation, or Long Paper (Master Essay)
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Prosser, Denisedcp12@pitt.edudcp12
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairPeterson, Jamesjimmyp@pitt.eduUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberCasson, Leonardcasson@pitt.eduUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Date: December 2018
Date Type: Submission
Submission Date: 13 November 2018
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 37
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Environmental and Occupational Health
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master Essay
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Desalination
Date Deposited: 28 Sep 2019 22:54
Last Modified: 28 Sep 2019 22:54


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