In The Wastelanders desalination is big business. The Water Cartel, a political force that in effect controls the government, runs it. Desalination is nothing new. The technology has been around for years. The problem has been that it is not cost efficient. Given the latest drought situation that may no longer be true.
Texas has over 40 desalination plants. Mostly they’re for brackish water, the largest plant being in El Paso and named after Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson. In an on-line Houston Chronicle article (Heather Alexander, April 2, 2014) the state is now looking to the Gulf, too. Again cost is a problem as it is a lot more expensive to desalinate seawater because of its higher concentration of salt.
Speaking of water, The New York Times recently ran a story about the West Antarctica ice sheet falling apart (Scientist Warn of Rising Oceans From Polar Melt, Justin Gillis & Kenneth Chang, May 12, 2014). Two separate studies drew the same conclusion, which isn’t good news for Miami, New Orleans, New York and Boston, to name a few coastal cities. The article is interesting and disconcerting, and I think it’s about time we faced some of these inconvenient truths. In 1968 glaciologist Dr. John Mercer called the West Antarctica ice sheet a “uniquely vulnerable and unstable body of ice” and warned of the dangers of rising sea levels. He pointed his finger at the greenhouse gases humanity has been pouring into the atmosphere as the main culprit, and of course he was ripped apart. Turns out he might’ve been onto something.
Desalination is bound to happen. In addition to cost, the energy it takes for desalination is another problem. Do we continue to add to the greenhouse gases? Kyle Frazier, executive director at the Texas Desalination Association, said, “Digging a hole and praying for rain is not going to work.” He’s right. Tackling a complex issue such as climate change calls for honest dialogues and intelligent thinking, not blind reliance on intelligent design.