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Volume 2 Number 3 May/June 2003

As local water supplies become depleted and demand for water in the Southwest continues to rise, municipalities have begun considering other sources of water – brackish groundwater, recycled water, and seawater, made potable through desalination. The cost of desalination technology has come down in recent years, although it is still not competitive with treatment of fresh water. However, when local freshwater sources are no longer available and the costs of importing water are factored in, desalination may become economically feasible in some areas. Several desalination plants were built in the Southwest in the early 1990s, but an end to the drought that prevailed at that time resulted in those plants having never been used. Given the current drought, as well as an increased demand for water resources, their operation is again being considered, and many more are in the planning or construction phase.

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©2005 Arizona Board of Regents