Arizona desalting plant starts pilot run next spring – finally

Cienega de Santa Clara

A decision has been made to conduct a pilot run of the Yuma Desalting Plant in May…

The plant, west of Yuma, was essentially completed in 1992. Initial operational testing was conducted at about one-third capacity until early 1993, when it was stopped after flooding on the Gila River damaged a portion of the irrigation drainage canal…

“Drought, population growth and the continuing need for water in the Southwest have increased the demand on the Colorado River,” Lorri Gray-Lee said. “This collaborative undertaking is one more example of the ongoing state-federal partnership effort to address the drought’s impacts, conserve and stretch the river’s water supply and identify and secure additional supplies…”

About 21,700 acre-feet of desalted water will be produced during the pilot run. This water will be combined with 7,300 acre-feet of untreated irrigation drainage water and the total amount – 29,000 acre-feet – will be discharged into the Colorado River and included in deliveries to Mexico as required by treaty…

Construction of the desalting plant was authorized by the Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Act of 1974. Its purpose was to desalt irrigation drainage water flows from the Wellton-Mohawk Irrigation and Drainage District so a portion of that water could be included in treaty-required deliveries of Colorado River water to Mexico. Since 1977, this drainage water has been conveyed from the district to the Cienega, bypassing the desalting plant.

At this time, Reclamation is not proposing to operate the plant beyond the pilot run, Gray-Lee said. “Any decision about the plant’s future will be made after the pilot run is completed or terminated…

Perish the thought you should hurry the process. Follow usual political standards and wait until water has run out in the region for a decade or two – so you won’t affront know-nothing skeptics or this week’s hate-the-furriner crowd.

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