California to try out desalinization
If desalinzation can prove to be successful and even prompt some technology innovations that would bring the price down on new plants this would solve HUGE water issues in the world. Aside from the environmentalists critiques of pumping back excess salt into the water, and not knowing the effects on the marine ecosystems, there could potentially be other problems. Desalinization would mean our oceans would be a new resource for water, a seemingly endless supply of water – would that change the way we consume water? Would we (the global we) use more water than ever? Who is going to reap the rewards for pumping to it inland areas? Would we find out, as we learned the hard way about animals and trees that the ocean may not really be an inexhaustible resource? Or with predicted rising ocean levels due to climate change, maybe overuse of ocean waters would actually end up saving our islands and low-lying coastal cities.
While I usually am in favor of abiding by the precautionary principle, I don't think desalinization in California should be stopped. But we do need to be smart about it's use and monitor (and acknowledge) externalities so we can remedy them before potential problems get out of hand.