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Could new, less costly desalination technology be used in the Borderland?

El Paso Water’s Kay Bailey Hutchison Desalination Plant can filter more than 2 billion gallons of brackish water a year.

El Paso Water’s Kay Bailey Hutchison Desalination Plant can filter more than 2 billion gallons of brackish water a year.

It’s the world's largest inland desalination plant, and it came with a hefty price tag of more than $90 million when it was completed a decade ago.

In a recent CNN article, I learned about a new, less costly desalination technology, and it made me wonder whether something like that could work in El Paso.

British researchers have developed a graphene-based sieve that can desalinate water much more cheaply than the desalination technology that's now used globally.

El Paso Water spokesman Joshua Moniz said that while the utility’s engineers are constantly looking for new and more cost-effective ways to meet the Borderland's water needs, regular maintenance should keep our desalination plant working for many years to come. He also said the new graphene technology is used to desalinate seawater, which has significantly more salt than our brackish groundwater does and requires more energy to work.

In addition, the graphene technology is probably still years away from becoming a practical way to desalinate water.

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