New Waves October 2010

Breaking news about water resources research and education in Texas

TWRI grant recipient analyzes economics of proposed desalination facility

By Melanie Orth

TWRI grant recipient analyzes economics of proposed desalination facility Andrew Leidner, a doctoral student in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Texas A&M University, worked with his advising professors, Drs. Ronald D. Lacewell and M. Edward Rister, to analyze projected costs of a proposed seawater desalination facility.

Leidner received a 2009-10 Texas Water Resources Institute (TWRI) research grant. With the $5,000 grant, Leidner compared and analyzed the seawater desalination facilities in North Dighton, Mass. and Tampa Bay, Fla., with a hypothetical facility to be built and operated in the Rio Grande Valley. Results of the study showed that neither of the two seawater desalination facilities would provide an accurate approximation for costs for a facility in the Rio Grande Valley. The next stage in his research will be to identify additional facilities, possibly outside the U.S., to find more commonalities between existing facilities and the hypothetical facility in the Rio Grande Valley.

“By better understanding the economic, social and environmental costs of water supply projects like seawater desalination,” Leidner said, “water managers can make more informed decisions about the viability, optimal size and optimal timing of water supply projects.”

After Leidner completes his doctorate, he said he wants to continue research on water technologies to address economic development issues.

This project was funded by TWRI through the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) as part of the National Institutes for Water Research annual research program. TWRI is the designated institute for water resources research in Texas.

For more information on Leidner’s research visit TWRI USGS Research Grants.

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