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"Can't we just solve dry conditions with ocean water?"

Posted at 2:49 PM, May 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-26 14:49:12-04

SOUTHWEST, Fla. — Your #ASKFOX4 questions are rolling in, and we’re working to get you answers!

Tony asked us:

"Drought every year. Some years worst than others. Why with the abundance of ocean water are there no desalination plants to help provide fresh water?“

If you’re reading this and wondering what desalination is, we’ve got you covered.

The South Florida Water Management District defines it as the process that removes dissolved salt from water, and that science makes it okay for us to drink or us for other purposes.

Essentially, Tony’s asking why not just take water from the ocean, remove the salt from it, and fix our drought-related problems that way? But, the district says it’s just not that simple.

They tell us that’s because droughts happen due to a lack of rainfall, and rain is the only source that can refill canals and shallow aquifers.

SFWMD does have two plants that desalinate seawater.

Combine that with 38 brackish groundwater plants, and SFWMD says it produces nearly 300 million gallons of drinkable water daily.

But, there’s a downside to desalination: the cost.

SFWMD says that process costs more than to treat groundwater.

That’s why it isn’t widely used in our state.

A representative from the district said it simply when we spoke to him on Tuesday:

“The solution is not drilling more into our aquifers. It’s Mother Nature.”

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