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Potential new answer to the drought: floating desalination systems off the Central, South Coasts?

A Santa Barbara-based company is working with Vandenberg Space Force Base on a test project. A buoy would contain an automated desalination system.


Almost daily, we’re being reminded that we can’t take something as simple as a glass of water for granted, as the impacts of the drought continue to grow.

But now, officials with an innovative company are preparing to test a new approach in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties to turning sea water into drinking water.

"The technology for creating water from the ocean has been around for a long time, but no one has really done much to change the way it's actually done," said Peter Stricker, who's with a Santa Barbara-based company called SeaWell.

The company is planning to use existing, but expensive water desalination technology in a new way. What if instead of building a huge plant, like Santa Barbara did, you create a floating ocean buoy which in effect contained a small water desalination system?

The buoys would float about a mile offshore, connected to a power line and a water pipe to ship purified water onshore.

This is more than an idea. The company has teamed up with Vandenberg Space Force Base, where it’s planning to test one of the SeaWell SW150 buoys. The buoys are still in the design stage, but the hope is to soon begin testing key element of the system at a one of a kind desalination test facility at Naval Base Ventura County.


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