Desalting Water Probably Will Not Solve the Nation's Water Problems, But Can Help

CED-79-60: Published: May 1, 1979. Publicly Released: May 1, 1979.

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As the availability of freshwater for municipal and industrial purposes becomes more of a problem, many countries are beginning to consider various desalination processes. Congress established the Saline Water Conversion Program to research and develop ways to convert sea and other saline water into useful water. Although the program is responsible for much of the desalting technology in use in the world today, a practical, low-cost desalting method has not been achieved.

While continuing to try to reduce desalination costs, the United States is working with other countries to improve desalination technology. The Saline Water Conversion Program has suffered from a lack of consistent management focus.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should: (1) present to Congress a comprehensive, well-defined, goal-oriented Saline Water Conversion Program plan which clearly identifies program goals, plans for achieving the goals, and an assessment of the resources required; and (2) ensure, to the extent that funds are made available, that the plan is effectively implemented and evaluated so that program objectives will be achieved.

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