Who We Are
We are a group of undergraduate students from Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona majoring in Earth and Environmental Studies. This is a seawater desalination project which is the result of our senior capstone course entitled Solving Environmental Problems where we have been challenged to utilize knowledge and critical thinking skills that we’ve gained from our previous courses to develop a potential solution to a growing problem in Arizona: water depletion and scarcity.
Currently, Arizona has two main sources of water: groundwater and water from the Colorado River. 40% of Arizona’s water needs are met through groundwater pumping which is found beneath the earth’s surface in natural reservoirs called aquifers. The Colorado River currently provides 32% of Arizona's water, which is about 2,800,000 acre feet . Other states also share Colorado River water which caused the formation of the Colorado River Impact in order to divide up the river into the Upper and Lower Basins. This provides water to California, Colorado, Nevada and Mexico .
In the last 11 to 14 years, the southwest has been categorized as an area of extreme drought. Reservoirs including Lake Powell and Lake Mead are not currently at full capacity. Both lakes are rimmed with white mineral deposits indicating the depth of the water in previous years. Lake Mead, which is in more critical condition, is currently at 39% water capacity. If the lake reaches lower than 1,000 feet above sea level, it will lose the ability to pump water for municipal needs  . Today, it is approximately 1,080 feet above sea level . Therefore, at this current rate, the water demands of Arizona cannot continue to be met from the Colorado River alone.
A project must be developed that contains a viable and realistic solution to meet these needs and ensure water security for Arizona in the decades to come. Water desalination technologies have provided us with a solution. The challenge is determining the most effective and sustainable desalination technology that will ensure future security and reliability, and that will minimize any negative impacts to the people, the economy and the environment.
According to the Global Water Intelligence and RWL Water, the capacity of all working desalination plants around the world in 2012 was 78.4 million m3/day, and the global capacity for desalination in 2008 was approximately 47.6 million m3/day. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that the present global capacity has increased to roughly 100 million m 3/day .
This project mandates that 15 million m 3/day of freshwater must be produced in order to provide 50% of Arizona’s projected water needs, or approximately 15% of the world’s current global desalination capacity. However, it is important to understand that this kind of large-scale desalination project has not been previously achieved, and that the cost of required resources, including energy consumption, will be exorbitantly high in comparison to all desalination projects that have been implemented to date.
How to Navigate This Website
 AZCentral, 2015. As the River Runs Dry: The Southwest's water crisis. [online] Available at: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/arizona/investigations/2015/02/27/southwest-water-crisis-part-one/24011053/ [Accessed 6 Apr. 2015].
 GalleryHip.com, (2015). [image] Available at: http://galleryhip.com/black-and-white-photography-ocean.html [Accessed 3 Apr. 2015].
 Global Water Intel, 2015. Desalination industry enjoys growth spurt as scarcity starts to bite: Global Water Intelligence. [online] Available at: http://www.globalwaterintel.com/desalination-industry-enjoys-growth-spurt-scarcity-starts-bite/ [Accessed 29 Mar. 2015].
 RWL Water, 2012. Global Desalination Capacity Increases Based on Scarcity | RWL Water. [online] Available at: http://www.rwlwater.com/global-desalination-capacity-increases-based-on-scarcity/ [Accessed 29 Mar. 2015].
 United States Census, 2015. Population estimates, July 1, 2014, (V2014). [online] Available at: http://www.census.gov/quickfacts/table/PST045214/00,04 [Accessed 6 Apr. 2015].
 Anon, Water Supply - Central Arizona Project. Water Supply - Central Arizona Project. Available from: http://www.azwater.gov/azdwr/statewideplanning/wateratlas/activemanagementareas/planningareaoverview/watersupply.htm [Accessed April 14, 2015].
 Bureau of Reclamation, H. (2015). Bureau of Reclamation: Lower Colorado Region - Colorado River FAQs. [online] Usbr.gov. Available at: http://www.usbr.gov/lc/hooverdam/faqs/riverfaq.html [Accessed 6 Apr. 2015].
 Waterman, J., 2014. Record Drought Reveals Stunning Changes Along Colorado River. National Geographic. Available from: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/11/141123-lake-powell-colorado-river-drought-water/ [Accessed April 12, 2015].
 Wines, M., 2014. Colorado River Drought Forces a Painful Reckoning for States. The New York Times. Available from: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/06/us/colorado-river-drought-forces-a-painful-reckoning-for-states.html [Accessed April 12, 2015].
 Anon, * Lake Mead Water Levels. * Lake Mead Water Levels. Available from: http://www.arachnoid.com/naturalresources/ [Accessed April 12, 2015].
 Society, N. (2015). Mojave Desert Picture - Landscape Wallpaper - National Geographic Photo of the Day. [online] National Geographic. Available at: http://photography.nationalgeographic.com/photography/photo-of-the-day/tecopa-lake-bed-mojave/ [Accessed 16 Apr. 2015].