Partnering to pilot other water resources

In the desert, water is a particularly precious commodity. While Western and the Bureau of Reclamation use this valuable resource to create and market power, that is only part of the “water” story. The water in the southwest supports recreation, farming crops, natural habitats and drinking water. Yet, the continued drought—coupled with increasing population—has created an even greater need to find more water. In May, an effort to supplement the Southwest fresh water resources, Reclamation ramped up its Yuma Desalting Plant.

As part of the Yuma Desalting Plant Pilot Run, Western worked with Reclamation to purchase power to run the plant.

Set to operate 365 days within an 18-month period, the desalted water is returned to the Colorado River system, while the rejected, salty brine is used to drive the energy recovery turbines at the clearwell pumping plant before flowing to the Santa Clara Marsh, also called the Cienega de Santa Clara.

Providing power and fresh water since May, the plant has operated safely and reliably every day, giving it a 100 percent on-stream factor—the ratio of operating days to calendar days. Plant Manager Michael Norris added, “The plant has recovered 5,555 acre-feet of water (more than 1.8 billion gallons) as of June 30.” This water has been included in water deliveries to Mexico; therefore, the same amount of water has not been released from Lake Mead and remains available for use in the United States. This not only helps the Southwest, but also Mexico. The United States, Mexico and a bi-national coalition of non-governmental organizations have committed to arrange the conveyance of 10,000 acre-feet of water each to the Cienega de Santa Clara, a fragile marshland at the Gulf of California, in Mexico.

“The Pilot Run is conducted on two parallel tracks: preparing plant equipment and systems and performing compliance and consultation activities,” Norris said. Consultations included water users, environmental groups, the general public, other Federal agencies and Mexico.


  • By Royan, September 10, 2010 @ 8:55 am

    thx Tiffani

  • By Juliana Morales, September 12, 2010 @ 7:37 am

    nice work guys, keep it up


  • By Peter Q, September 20, 2010 @ 6:19 pm

    100 percent on-stream factor is amazing. It is great to see the US and Mexico working together on this.

  • By Pete, October 22, 2010 @ 8:31 pm

    I must admit Western is doing a great job. An inspiration to other companies. This using waste water to generate power is great.

  • By Mitchell, October 29, 2010 @ 7:07 pm

    Anything we can do to increase efficiency of water use is a good thing. When you mention water being a precious resource in the desert, we have to remember this includes much of California as well…not just the obvious desert states like Arizona and New Mexico.

  • By Vancouver Roofing Company, December 5, 2010 @ 9:44 pm

    Woww, this is interesting post. Thanks!

  • By Kairos, May 2, 2011 @ 5:00 pm

    Dear Author, do you have any idea how much the desalting plant cost?

    Could the technology be potentially used in countries where there is small availability of clean water?

  • By Jen, May 9, 2011 @ 8:34 am

    Dear reader, I am unsure how much the desalting plant costs. You should get in touch with the Bureau of Reclamation, who owns and operates the facility. Here is the Yuma Office contact information:
    7301 Calle Agua Salada
    Yuma, AZ 85364
    Phone: 800-433-8464 or 928-343-8100

  • By Flyg Stockholm Göteborg, February 20, 2012 @ 11:53 pm

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  • By ankara araba kiralama, May 12, 2012 @ 10:24 am

    thanks buddy for this helpy subject…

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