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There has been an exponential increase in desalination capacity both globally and nationally since 1960, fuelled in part by growing concern for local water scarcity and made possible to a great extent by a major federal investment for desalination research and development. Traditional sources of supply are increasingly expensive, unavailable, or controversial, but desalination technology offers the potential to substantially reduce water scarcity by converting the almost inexhaustible supply of seawater and the apparently vast quantities of brackish groundwater into new sources of freshwater.
"Desalination" assesses the state of the art in relevant desalination technologies, and factors such as cost and implementation challenges. It also describes reasonable long-term goals for advancing desalination technology, posits recommendations for action and research, estimates the funding necessary to support the proposed research agenda, and identifies appropriate roles for governmental and nongovernmental entities.