The Salton Sea Authority will be evaluating the potential of using desalinization as a means to help stabilize salinity levels at the Salton Sea using energy from Imperial County's geothermal resources.
The authority board Thursday approved negotiations with Cal Energy, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and Sephton Water Technology to facilitate the demonstration of a vertical tube evaporator desalinization pilot project along the shore of the sea.
Cal Energy has extensive geothermal operations at the southern edge of the sea near Red Hill.
"Desalinization has been evaluated as a restoration concept for a number of years," said authority president Roy Wilson, a member of the Riverside County Board of Supervisors. "However, it has been rejected as a practical solution, largely because of high energy costs."
However, desalinization costs are becoming more competitive with technological advances, Wilson said.
More than a year ago, Hugo Sephton submitted a proposal to the authority to utilize multi-effect vertical tube evaporation as a method to remove salts from the sea and return distilled water to the sea.