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Scientists Strive to Understand the Impact of Desalination

This is Science Today. A dry winter in the West has officials and residents bracing for a summer of water shortages and rationing. The situation is fueling the search for new sources of water - including the oceans through the use of desalination plants. Marine biologist Jeffrey Graham of the University of California, San Diego's Scripps Institution of Oceanography, is part of a team working to make sure when that happens, state regulators and nature itself, are ready.

Graham:         The important steps in ecological impact of desalination have not been taken in terms of assessing the effects - assessing the impacts and when you begin to talk about some of these very large plants that presently operate in Saudi Arabia or that could potentially operate along the coast of California and that now operate in Japan and other places, the way and the manner in which they ecological effects of the discharge are dealt with has to be done in a way that conserves the environment.

Narrator:        For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.