Courtesy of: PBSNewsHour via YouTube, October 31, 2015.[1]

Desalination is the process by which salt is removed from water in order to make seawater into drinking water.[2] Since the 1990’s desalination has become a cost effective option for water-scare coastal regions in the United States, such as California.[3] Some regions of California have been successful in implementing desalination plants while other areas are still working to implement successful desalination plants. The history of desalination and drought are fundamental to the advancement of water treatment in the 21st century. As drought becomes more common in California, desalination is a possible drought-proof water source for arid coastal regions. Throughout history, construction and implementation of desalination plants in California has been promoted by the lack of water that has occurred as the result of drought but has been limited by environmental and economic factors, and anti-development movements. While there is uncertainty in construction of desalination plants, there are two locations in southern California that can serve as models for future desalination plants in central California. In Carlsbad, the Claude “Bud” Lewis Desalination Plant has been operational since 2015 and provides water to over 400,000 individuals.[4] In 1992, a desalination plant in Santa Barbara was built and is expected to resume operations by January 2017.[5]

This website was created to fulfill my senior capstone requirement in the Lyman Briggs College at Michigan State University. The goal of this course was to connect water and society. This website illustrates how the lack of water caused by drought has promoted the use of desalination plants in arid communities. In addition, this website illustrates that desalination is a current method of water treatment used in arid coastal regions.

Courtesy of: Katrina Price May 6, 2016.
San Diego, California. Courtesy of: Katrina Price May 6, 2016.

Work Cited:

[1] PBSNewHour, “Is desalination the future of drought relief in California?,” YouTube, October 31, 2015, accessed December 9, 2016,

[2] Heather Cooley. Desalination, with a grain of salt a California perspective, (Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environmental, and Security, 2006), 10.

[3] David Sedlak, Water 4.0 (Yale University Press, 2012), 218.

[4] Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant, accessed: November 30, 2016,

[5] City of Santa Barbara. Date accessed: October 17, 2016.