Desalination Plants: what is wrong with having an insurance policy?


One of the major arguments against utilizing desalination plants to help meet drinking water requirements is they are expensive to build and operate.

The desalination plant which just opened in Carlsbad cost nearly a billion dollars to build and the proposed plant for Monterrey will cost an estimated 400 million dollars to construct.

Cost of investment

If these investments are viewed from a cost basis I would agree, this is steep price tag. However, when the viewed from a risk standpoint then the cost does not seem as extreme.

Cost of running out of water

Advanced civilization depends on access to clean water how can anyone begin to place a price on what happens in the water runs out? In cases, where small towns have exhausted their water supplies the dilemma has threated the very existence to the towns in question.

Insurance policies are designed to pay out if an unexpected occurrence takes place to which there would be serious consequences. For instance, l own a life insurance policy designed so if I died unexpectedly my wife would enjoy some financial cushion to take care of my funeral expenses and other family expenses.

Why couldn’t a desalination plant be viewed in the same fashion? During a time of drought installed desalination plants would be used to provide relief to lowering reservoir levels until the rains returned after which the plants could be mothballed until the need arose.


Desalination in Australia

The practice has worked in Australia’s which recently emerged from an 11 year drought. California is in the process of commissioning a plant at Carlsbad which should provide relief to the San Diego area. Carlsbad receives its water from two distressed systems, namely the Colorado River and the Sierra Mountains in Northern California whose snow packs are at low levels unseen in years.

Water available no matter the weather

In light of the uncertain weather changes which will surely accompany the impacts of climate change what is the harm of ensuring everyone has enough water to live regardless of what the future holds?