State Water Resources Research Institute Program

Project ID: 2009TX323B
Title: Economic analysis of proposed seawater desalination facility in Brownsville, TX
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 3/01/2009
End Date: 2/28/2010
Congressional District: 27, 15, 28
Focus Categories: Economics, Water Supply, Management and Planning
Keywords: seawater desalination, water supply project economics
Principal Investigators: Leidner, Andrew J; Lacewell, Ron; Rister, M Edward (Texas A&M University; Texas AgriLife Research)
Federal Funds: $ 5,000
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 10,149
Abstract: Seawater desalination project is being actively pursued by the Brownsville Public Utilities Board, municipal power and water supplier to the City of Brownsville located in the Texas Lower Rio Grande Valley. Seawater desalination provides a means to expand the region's water supply and diversify the region's water supply portfolio against water delivery shortfalls and periodic drought. This research will compile economic cost data from desalination facilities similar to the facility being proposed for Brownsville (to be located on the Port of Brownsville). The analysis will compare the projected costs of water production via desalination at the Port of Brownsville with the costs of alternative potable water supplies, including conventional surface water treatment, brackish groundwater desalination, and seawater desalination at other locations, controlling for water quality, energy costs, time value of money, etc. Cost analysis will use DESAL ECONOMICS©, a cost model developed by Texas A&M AgriLife Research and AgriLife Extension Service economists, along with cost models used in the industry, e.g., Reverse Osmosis Desalination Cost Model (RODCM) published by Water Resource Associates, and WTCost© II published by I. Moch and Associates.

Progress/Completion Report, 2009, PDF

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