Water expert: Ducey's proposed desalination plan won't work on its own

By Vaughan Jones
Published: Sunday, March 27, 2022 - 5:05am
Updated: Sunday, March 27, 2022 - 9:56am

Earlier this year, Gov. Doug Ducey proposed a $1 billion desalination project to ease Arizona’s water issues.

Seth Seigel is an author who studied Israel’s use of desalination and other methods to solve its own water issues. He told PBS’s “Arizona Horizon” that desalination is helpful, but not a solution on its own.

“It should be part of an “all of the above” strategy, but if you think of it as a magical solution, as the only solution, it’s not a good idea,” said Seigel.

Siegel says it takes years and money to build and staff a desalination plant. 

“First of all, if you start today, you’re not gonna have it tomorrow, you’re not even gonna have it a year from tomorrow, or five years from tomorrow. It takes a while to build it.” said Siegel.

He says that the largest facility in the Western hemisphere, in Carlsbad, California, took $1 billion to build and $60 million per year to operate, and almost two decades from conception to opening of the plant.

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