Desalination of seawater along the coasts is the west’s water supply backstop, the reason we won’t in the worst case scenarios abandon southwestern cities. The water is very expensive as compared to the current system of dams, canals, pipes and pumps, but it’s cheaper that bailing out of the region entirely.
[D]esalination has been lagging in California, where water woes are especially dire, industry and government officials say. They blame the slow progress on a disorganized local industry, litigious environmentalists and a thorny approvals process.
I would humbly offer a simpler suggestion: that we haven’t reached the pain point yet, at which desal suddenly looks more appealing than increasingly dire alternatives.