Arizona governor touts $1B for desalination, water supply initiatives
Arizona – Entering his final year as governor of Arizona, Rob Ducey announced a $1 billion investment in water desalination at his State of the State on January 10.
Ducey provided scant details of the project in his address, but he said he would be working with Arizona Speaker of the House Rusty Bowers and State Senate President Karen Fann to expand on the state’s recent water initiatives to secure its water future for the next 100 years.
Arizona appropriated $200 million in 2021 to invest in water technology to continue its efforts that kicked off with the passage of a state Drought Contingency Plan.
The governor also noted the state’s relationship with Mexico in speaking about the desalination initiative. In 2020, Arizona joined California, Nevada, the U.S. Department of the Interior, and several Mexican agencies in studying desalination opportunities in the Sea of Cortez in Mexico.
All potential locations evaluated in the study would deliver treated water to Morelos Dam for exchange. They are:
- Opportunity 1 – Reverse osmosis desalination facility between Bahia San Jorge and Puerto Lobos utilizing ocean discharge/dispersion for brine management.
- Opportunity 2 – Reverse osmosis desalination facility co-located with a pumped storage hydropower facility south of Puerto Libertad, utilizing ocean discharge/dispersion for brine management.
- Opportunity 5 – Reverse osmosis desalination facility co-located at the power plant in Puerto Libertad utilizing ocean discharge/dispersion for brine management.
The third and fourth opportunities were set aside for further development.
According to the study, a seawater desalination opportunity that provides an additional 50,000 to 200,000 acre feet per year (AFY) of new water supplies would contribute significantly to restoring water supply in the Colorado River Basin.
The total projected AFY deficit is more than 1.15 million for the affected Mexico region by 2030 and Arizona, Nevada, Southern California, Northern Baja California, and Sonora by 2035.
This study assumed a traditional design-bid-build approach to project delivery. However, because this facility will be outside of the U.S., it is more likely that this this project would be delivered under a different method, such as a public-private partnership.