Log in

Login to your account

Username *
Password *
Remember Me

Create an account

Fields marked with an asterisk (*) are required.
Name *
Username *
Password *
Verify password *
Email *
Verify email *
Captcha *
Reload Captcha
4 minutes reading time (803 words)

Get the Salt Out! California, Israel, the World...and Desalination Technology

In February I reached a new low. Up until that point, my lowest point happened as a child in my home state of California. That was when my father took me through Death Valley - elevation 282 ft (86 m) below sea level.

But this was different. I was not going to the lowest spot in North or South America (Death Valley). I was going to the lowest spot in the entire world. I was on my way to the Dead Sea. Located on the border between Israel and Jordan (see my personal photos below), the Dead Sea is at an elevation of 1412 ft (431 m) below sea level - and getting lower all the time as it further evaporates.

I happen to be visiting my home state of California as I write this. I arrived yesterday into a heat wave that reached 109 degrees F (43 C) today. While the world pays a very large amount of attention to California, some of you from farther away may not know that California has been under extreme drought conditions for many years - until this year when everything changed. Drought in California often leads to discussion of desalination plants and, in some cases, their construction. More on that below.

I first started paying attention to desalination when studying engineering in beautiful Santa Barbara, California. During my preceding high school years California experienced another severe drought. I started my freshman year at UCSB at the end of this drought. During my freshman year I saw more rain than I had ever seen in my life. Even more important than the rain was the snow that fell in the Sierra Nevada mountains that winter. By the end of that year the drought was over.

During my university years in Santa Barbara I read about the debate and plans for a local desalination plant. That plant was eventually built (Charles E. Meyer Desalination Plant) and started operation a few years after I finished school and left. As often happens, no one really wants to build a desalination plant so they wait until a drought is really bad before they start construction. By the time they finish building it the drought is often over. That is apparently what happened in Santa Barbara. The plant opened in 1992 then was put in "standby mode" because the water was no longer needed and such plants are notoriously expensive to operate. With the recent extreme drought, a decision was made to reactivate the plant in 2015. The reactivation was completed just two months ago in May 2017. However, starting in January this year California received record or near record amounts of rainfall and snowfall. Will Santa Barbara mothball the plant again or keep it open? Who knows?

Since leaving California in 1992, I have returned often for visits with my extended family and trips to the beach. For about 15 years my family and I spent a week most summers in the Carlsbad/Oceanside area north of San Diego. For reasons similar to Santa Barbara, the California authorities decided to build a desalination plant in Carlsbad. This plant (Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant) was completed in late 2015. It is the largest desalination plant in the Western Hemisphere.

What do these two plants have in common? This is how I can connect the Dead Sea and Israel back into my story. Israel is a technology leader in maximizing water resources. Israel Desalination Enterprises (IDE) is a world leader in desalination (see Desalination Nation: How Israel Is Helping The World Fight Water Shortage). IDE built the Carlsbad plant and also brought the Santa Barbara plant out of mothballs. And IDE is in discussions regarding the Red Sea-Dead Sea Water Conveyance Project (see article just linked for information on this project and Carlsbad).

I find it interesting that California has not developed innovative water technology like Israel has been forced to do. So they had to essentially hire a foreign entity to build the Carlsbad Plant. But as the article linked previously states, Israel is using their technology to bring the world together by helping to provide a crucial resource in scarce locations.

Before concluding this article I do need to plug AFT software which has been successfully applied to desalination plants. We do not yet have any case studies, but if you happen to have one please submit it to our Platinum Pipe Award contest!

Below are some photos I took of the Dead Sea and a selfie I tooked while standing at the lowest place on earth. This was at the end of my trip to Israel earlier this year after I had finished teaching a training class to a customer there. 

Selfie I took at the Dead Sea in Israel this February

 Selfie Trey Walters took at the Dead Sea in Israel this February   

Dead Sea From Near the Shore

Dead Sea From Near the Shore

Dead Sea from the Masada Roman Fortress

 Dead Sea from the Masada Roman Fortress

When to Begin? Time and Events in Transient Studie...
Hang on when riding a banshee on an alien world!

Related Posts

 

Comments 2

Guest - Manuel Sabido on Thursday, 05 October 2017 16:24

Mr. Walters, Dead sea and the Pacific ocean have a different different chemical components and salt levels, my concern is, what impact will there be on the marine ecosystem with the salt deposit product of desalination?, on the coast of Carlsbad for example.

Mr. Walters, Dead sea and the Pacific ocean have a different different chemical components and salt levels, my concern is, what impact will there be on the marine ecosystem with the salt deposit product of desalination?, on the coast of Carlsbad for example.
Trey Walters on Sunday, 15 October 2017 15:11

Hi Manuel - I am far from a desalination expert. When it comes to the California coast, I have a hard time seeing the discharged brine back to the ocean having a significant effect. This link may help - http://www.abc.net.au/science/expert/realexpert/desalination/01.htm

Hi Manuel - I am far from a desalination expert. When it comes to the California coast, I have a hard time seeing the discharged brine back to the ocean having a significant effect. This link may help - http://www.abc.net.au/science/expert/realexpert/desalination/01.htm
Guest
Tuesday, 13 April 2021

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to https://www.aft.com/

© 2021 Applied Flow Technology