Research Area: Desalination

Our Objective

WRF research on desalination is conducted to determine the effectiveness, practicality, and benefits of desalination in today’s world. 

The main goals of WRF's desalination program are to further the knowledge and understanding of desalination in regards to treatment strategies, regulatory concerns, cost implications, concentrate management, and environmental effects and provide effective tools and information regarding the benefits of desalination as part of a diverse water portfolio.

Desalination Overview

Latest News

Desalination and Reuse Projects - Subscriber Access
WE&RF subscribers recieve complimentary access to all water reuse and desalination research available at If you did not previously have a login for the WateReuse website, please contact Gina Street at to access the research.
Santa Barbara's Desal Plant Once Again Turning Seawater into Tap Water
Santa Barbara residents are now drinking treated seawater distributed through the Charles E. Meyer desalination plant.
World’s First Commercial Full-recovery Desalination Plant Completed in El Paso
The new facility will add to the city’s drinking water supply and turn minerals from groundwater into commercial products.
WE&RF Reuse & Desalination Newseltter - January 2017
The latest issue of Reuse & Desalination news features a newly published WE&RF report on direct potable reuse, a subscriber's new desalination plant, and opportunities to get involved in reuse research.
Carlsbad’s Seawater Desalination Plant Marks One-year Anniversary
In its first year of operations, the nation’s largest and most technologically advanced seawater desalination plant produced enough high-quality, drought-proof water from the Pacific Ocean to meet approximately 10 percent of the region’s demand.
Shoring Up Supplies - San Antonio Magazine
San Antonio Water System’s (SAWS) brackish groundwater desalination plant is now removing salt from 12 million gallons of water per day.

Products & Tools

Carlsbad Desalinated Seawater Integration Study (Desal-15-06/4773)
This comprehensive full-scale study examines the impact of integrating seawater desalinated via reverse osmosis (SWRO) water into existing regional supplies of disparate quality.
Multi-Mode Filtration System for Wastewater Recovery and Desalination (U5R15)
The goal of this project was to build and test a multi-mode water filter that uses electronic, magnetic, and membrane filtering as opposed to conventional filters.
Use of Heated Metal Oxide Particles as Adsorbents for Membrane Fouling Reduction in Water Reuse and Desalination Applications (Reuse-14-09)
Research examines heated metal oxide particles (HMOPs), which include heated aluminum oxide particles (HAOPs) and heated iron oxide particles (HIOPs), both of which part of this relatively new class of adsorbents.
Database of Permitting Practices for Seawater Desalination Concentrate (DESAL-13-07)
Documents seawater reverse osmosis discharge regulatory issues and provides a critical overview of facility discharge-related information required for permitting desalination projects.
Performance and Cost Review of Existing Desalination Plants which use Conventional and Membrane Pretreatment Processes Prior to RO (Ongoing)
This project will provide utilities with information on key criteria that can assist during the planning phase for membrane desalination plants, related to the evaluation of different pre-treatment processes and provide a process selection decision matrix which optimizes capital and operating costs against performance and regulatory requirements.