Home\Educate\Water Reuse 101\Research Projects\Year\2013\Desal Dialog: A Regulatory Workshop on Critical Issues of Desalination Permitting

Desal Dialog: A Regulatory Workshop on Critical Issues of Desalination Permitting

Project: 10-03
Year Released: 2013
Type: White Paper

Program: Principal
Funding Partners: Bureau of Reclamation, Water Research Foundation
Total Investment: $290,400 (Cash: $150,000, In-Kind: $140,000)

Principal Investigators: Michael J. Irlbeck, NRS Consulting Engineers, Inc., and Nikolay Voutchkov, Water Globe Consulting, Inc.


A significant barrier to implementing desalination technology in the United States is uncertainty regarding how environmental impacts are addressed in permitting processes.

Goals and Objectives

The project, called the Desal Dialog, conducted a national workshop for key desalination stakeholders, including utilities, regulators, and associations. The goal of the workshop was to facilitate a common understanding of desalination permitting issues and identify areas of common ground and agreement.

Research Approach

The project team conducted an extensive and broad outreach effort to identify and include as many interested stakeholders as possible. Of the 77 organizations invited, a total of 54 participated in the Desal Dialog, representing 13 states and 4 foreign countries. The workshop was organized in one plenary session and three breakout sessions aimed at facilitating conversations and garnering feedback.

In preparation for a 2-day workshop for the participants conducted on March 28 and 29, 2012, the project team prepared and circulated 12 technical White Papers that addressed 4 main permitting categories: source water issues, product water quality, discharge impacts, and membrane technology performance and reliability. These White Papers were used to “set the table” for discussions at the workshop.

Findings and Conclusions

This report summarizes the results and recommendations of the Desal Dialog and includes the White Papers provided to participants.

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