Drought-Buster: Water Reuse Via Zero Discharge DesalinationSource: Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies
The City of Alamogordo, New Mexico (2010 Population: 30,403) is located in Otero County, approximately six miles from Holloman Air Force Base. The city is planning to install a 3 to 6 MGD desalination facility for the production of drinking water and must overcome significant challenges as outlined in their 40-year Water Development Plan (2005 – 2045). Such challenges include the need for new water supplies for a growing population, the region’s dry climate (Annual Rainfall: 11.4 inches), and variability in available surface water.
The City of Alamogordo faces several challenges for increasing water supply in the future facility. Historically, more than 70% of the City of Alamogordo’s water source is derived from surface water, which is affected by drought and seasonal variability. The alternative brackish water source originates from the Tularosa Underground Water Basin, which is saturated in calcium sulfate and contains TDS and silica. Treatment of this water using conventional reverse osmosis (RO) technology produces brine waste that must be disposed.
Although concentrate disposal is a viable solution as a result of inexpensive land and high evaporation rates, the need to maximize the limited water supply through brine recovery is a motivation for the City of Alamogordo to consider recovering more water instead of simply disposing of the concentrate.
Image credit: "Drought," © 2009 Bert Kaufmann, used under an Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/deed.en