DesalData Weekly - February 7th, 2017

Posted 07 February, 2017 by Mandy

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The Gachsaran Oil and Gas Production Company in Iran is set to build two new desalination plants.  These plants will increase the production of crude oil by 15,000 barrels per day.[1]  They will also improve the production quality of oil and prevent the decline of refinery feedstock.[2]   Gachsaran has crude oil extraction sites in three provinces of southern Iran (Khuzestan, Bushehr, and Fars). However, it is not yet clear which of these facilities will undergo the planned works.[3]


In the Gaza Strip, a new EU and UNICEF sponsored desalination facility has begun producing 6,000 cubic metres of water per day.  The facility provides relief to long-suffering Palestinians, for whom 97 percent of the water supply is undrinkable.[4]  In the recent past, they have relied almost exclusively on the use of a depleted coastal aquifer for their water needs, which provides roughly 150,000 cubic metres per day.[5]

The land allotted for the plant’s expansion is currently occupied by Hamas. Mazen Ghunaim, the head of the Palestinian Water Authority, stated that the fundamentalist, militant group has promised to remove its training site from the location.[6]


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Ahmad and Shahd—among the 75,000 people who will receive safe drinking water from the new facility / Credit: UNICEF Palestine via the Times of Israel


Recent investigations by engineers and geophysicists suggest that California’s proposed desalination facility in Dana Point may have room for a larger well system.[7]  This finding suggests that the facility may have the ability to produce more potable water for its consumers.  Last week, Mark Donovan, a senior engineer with GHD, Inc., identified the potential source of this water as a paleo channel: “an ancient river channel topped with younger sediment.” The channel, which is located at the mouth of San Juan Creek, is larger than it was originally assumed to be.[8]


The South Coast Water District is currently proposing to drill slant wells at Doheny State Beach, as part of the Doheny Ocean Desalination Project. This finding may result in either the construction of more wells, or, the expansion of the nine wells previously proposed.  The district draws 80 percent of its water from the Colorado River and Northern California; and 20 percent of its water supply from recycled and groundwater sources.[9]  The facility’s proponents identify this desalination project as “a reliable water source” in the event of environmental upheavals, including earthquakes and drought.[10]


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In the UAE, nine desalination sites have failed water quality tests. During the past seven months, the Ras Al Khaimah Municipality has inspected 160 desalination facilities across the country, collecting 1,015 samples for laboratory testing.[11] The facilities that failed the test were either “selling impure water or using unsafe bottles.”[12]


[1] The Gachsaran-3 desalination plant will support a facility that processes 110,000 barrels of crude oil per day; and the Bibi Hakimeh-1 plant will process 55,000 barrels per day. “Iran to Build Two Desalination Plants to Increase Oil Production,” February 1, 2017,, <> accessed February 1, 2017.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Fares Akram, “Desalination Plant Opens to Bring Gaza Some Relief,” Times of Israel, January 19, 2017, <> accessed February 2, 2016.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Bryce Alderton, “‘Paleo channel’ Finding Could Mean More Water from Dana Point Desalination Plant,” Los Angeles Times, January 31, 2017, <> accessed February 3, 2017.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid.

[11] “Ras Al Khaimah Raps Nine Desalination Stations After Extensive Testing,”, February 1, 2017, <> accessed February 2, 2017.

[12] Ibid.

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