Desalination and Membrane Technologies: Federal Research and Adoption Issues
Emerging technologies (e.g., forward osmosis, nanocomposite and chlorine resistant membranes) show promise for reducing desalination costs. Research to support development of emerging technologies and to reduce desalination's environmental and social impacts is particularly relevant to the debate on the future level and nature of federal desalination assistance. The federal government generally has been involved primarily in desalination research and development (including for military applications), some demonstration projects, and select full-scale facilities. For the most part, local governments, sometimes with state-level involvement, are responsible for planning, testing, building, and operating desalination facilities. Some states, universities, and private entities also undertake and support desalination research. While interest in desalination persists among some Members, especially with drought concerns high, efforts to maintain or expand federal activities and investment are challenged by the domestic fiscal climate and differing views on federal roles and priorities.
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