I tried to google about this topic this morning and my finding is as follows:
- It may not be at a large scale but it is happening
- desalination projects are only one of many efforts that California takes on to free itselft from drought-depedent water sources
While tradition desalination process consumes significant energy and thus is expensive. Newer desalination methods needs much less enerny. An article on 360.yale.edu by Cheryl Katz shows Trevi Systems use a method called “energy skimping desalination”. This method use 1/4 of the energy and can be driven by solar energy. Trevis Systems is part of a Bay Area start up. A pilot plant of Trevis System is being built in United Arab Emirates “to desalinate seawater”, using solar energy.
Trevi Systems can also be used to desalinate sewage water:
“can economically cleanse brackish groundwater, industrial effluent, and other forms of liquid waste”
A desalination project is being tested t in California’s agricultural Central Valley. It uses parabolic solar mirrors and captures water evaporates.
The largest desalination plant in the US will be in operation in early 2016. It will produce up to 50 millions gallon of drinkable water a day, using Isrealis technology. Santa Barbara restart its desalination plant, which passed a pilot test in the 90’s
There are other smaller projects that are in planning stages. Desalination research projects are also thriving at MIT, UC Berkeley, University of Texas and Standford. These research may result in new implementations in California in the near future.