News Feature | May 12, 2014

Key Texas Lawmaker Calls Desalination A 'Must'

By Sara Jerome
@sarmje

ocean

The Texas House leadership recently announced which lawmaker will fill the high-powered role of leading the state's new desalination committee. 

"It's a coveted position working with other lawmakers to figure out how to make desalination a reality in Texas," KRIS-6 reported.

Texas Speaker of the House Joe Straus chose State Rep. Todd Hunter for the job, KRIS-6 reported. The committee was formed as Texas suffers through a record drought. 

“Water remains a top priority for the Texas House because it remains critical to the Texas economy and our quality of life,” Straus said in his announcement

Hunter has already made his feelings about desalination clear. 

"Any option is a must," he told Kris-6. "So water desalination for me is a must for future planning."

At the moment, there are no seawater desalination plants up and running in Texas. 

The state is home to dozens of brackish groundwater desalination plants. There are 46 municipal brackish water desalination facilities operating across the state, the News Journal reported

"Most projects are small, capable of providing less than three million gallons per day, often for rural areas," the New York Times reported.

The largest plant is located in El Paso. It is the world's largest inland desalination plant, according to its operators.    

"The $91 million Kay Bailey Hutchison Desalination Plant, completed in 2007, can supply up to 27.5 million gallons of water a day," the New York Times report said. 

The state's interest in desalination dates back to early in the century.

"In April 2002, Governor Rick Perry tasked the Texas Water Development Board, [a state agency], with developing a proposal to build Texas' very first large-scale seawater desalination plant to produce drinking water," according to the board. 

The next year, the state passed House Bill 1370, which promoted desalination research. 

For more, check out Water Online's Desalination Solution Center.

Image credit: "ocean," cluczkow © 2009, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

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