Prospects for Desalted Water Costs.

by William E. Hoehn

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An evaluation of methods for estimating desalted water costs and an assessment of the potential impact of some proposals for large-scale desalting plants, particularly in the Middle East. The consequences of basing water cost calculations on several different assumptions are examined, considering both fossil- and nuclear-fueled plant alternatives. Cost estimates for proposed plants in Southern California and Israel are studied, and several proposals for massive desalting and industrial development are investigated in the light of their central features, internal consistency, and agreement with available information. It is found that the possibilities for producing low-cost desalted water from nuclear-fueled plants have been overrated. The only method having some promise of success in achieving useful water costs would appear to be to import natural gas, which is available in parts of the Middle East at near-zero cost at the well-heads. It is suggested that before large-scale desalting projects of any kind can be undertaken, smaller plants will have to be built to provide a source of realistic data from which to evaluate the larger complexes. 71 pp.

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