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Advanced Water Treatment Research

Economic Issues

Oddly enough, the some of the areas with the least expensive water rely on desalination to produce part of their supply!

Water treatment capital costs depend on the volume of water treated, the type of treatment process, location, ancillary equipment needed to bring water to the facility and deliver treated water to the customer. Costs include location specific costs such as permitting, site development work, power connections, and waste management options. Annual costs include amortization of capital cost, labor, power, chemicals, and maintenance items. The cost of water is the amount a utility needs to charge to provide the service of water treatment and delivery. The actual treatment cost is often a very small percentage of the cost of water.

The most expensive water is bottled water from the corner gas station, movie theater, or airport vendor at $1.50 per half liter! At that rate, your water bill for a family of four for a month would be $56,775 per month to supply 5,000 gallons of water. The table lists current water costs for a number of cities that use various advanced water treatment processes for all or a portion of the water they deliver. For ease of comparison, the cost for 5,000 gallons per month is included in the last column.

First Tier

Second Tier

Third Tier

Cost for 5 kgal/mo

Source

Location

Base

Limit

$/incr

Limit

$/incr

Limit

$/incr

Import

San Diego, CA

38.66

14 HCF

3.612/HCF

14 HCF

3.917/HCF

over 28 HCF

4.398

$ 62.80

Surface & GW

Santa Fe, NM

15.73

7 kgal

5.18/ kgal

over 7 kgal

18.55/ kgal

$ 50.35

Import & GW

Oxnard, CA

15.18

6 HCF

2.48/ HCF

7 - 12 HCF

2.76/ HCF

> 12 HCF

3.86/ HCF

$ 31.95

Surface

Boulder, CO

8.91

4.2 kgal

2.18/kgal

7 kgal

2.9/kgal

14 kgal

14.5/kgal

$ 20.39

Import

Tucson, AZ

7.53

1 - 15 HCF

1.6/HCF

16 - 30 HCF

6.05/HCF

31 - 45 HCF

8.67/HCF

$ 18.22

Desal & GW

Brownsville, TX

9.47

3 kgal

1.55/ kgal

9 kgal

1.71/ kgal

16 kgal

2.12/kgal

$ 17.54

Desal

Tampa, FL

1.5

0- 5 HCF

2.09/ HCF

6 - 13 HCF

2.43/ HCF

14 - 26 HCF

4.07/ HCF

$ 14.53

BW Desal & GW

El Paso, TX

4.79

4 HCF - 1.5 *AWC

1.45/HCF

1.5 - 2.5 *AWC

3.4/HCF

>2.5*AWC

4.87/HCF

$ 8.68

Import

Phoenix, AZ

4.36

Dec - Mar

2.44/HCF

Apr - Nov

2.95/ HCF

Jun - Sept

3.77/ HCF

$ 4.36

Kgal = 1,000 gallons, HCF = Hundred cubic feet or 7,480 gallons, AWC is the Average Winter Consumption, BW is brackish water, and GW is groundwater. (From water district websites, September 2011).

Desalting and Water Purification Research Program


Title

Performing Agency

Year

Report #

Survey of U.S. Costs and Water Rates for Desalination and Membrane Softening Plants

Leitner & Associates, Inc

1997

24

Water Treatment Estimation Routine (WaTER) User Manual

Bureau of Reclamation

1999

43

WTCost II: Modeling the Capital and Operating Costs of Thermal Desalination Processes Utilizing a Recently Developed Computer Program that Evaluates Membrane Desalting, Electrodialysis, and Ion Exchange Plants

(Note that this software program is not updated for windows).

I. Moch & Associates

2008

130