There are few places on earth as magnificent as California's Central Coast. It is an area of immense natural beauty with its breathtaking coastline, picturesque beaches, scenic mountains, and fascinating wildlife. 4 more about California's Central Coast interactive CD-ROM (external site)
The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS) protects the rich and highly diverse coastal and marine waters off California's central coast. It extends from San Francisco in the north to San Simeon in the south, encompassing a shoreline length of 276 miles and a vast underwater canyon starting just a few hundred meters offshore from Monterey. Upwelling transports nutrient-rich water from the deep canyon to the coastal waters of Monterey Bay and is largely responsible for the high abundance and diversity of marine life in this area.

Only three relatively small desalination facilities are in operation within the Sanctuary at the moment, but the demand for desalinated water along California's central coast increases. Proposed new facilities are being dealt with on a permit-by-permit basis. The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and other agencies aim to address the emerging issue of desalination by developing a series of regional guidelines and recommendations to minimise impacts on the marine environment.


I participated in this effort to elaborate recommendations and also assisted with the writing of a report that the Sanctuary is producing in collaboration with the California Coastal Commission. The report is based on a first edition published by the Coastal Commission in 1993, entitled Seawater Desalination in California.

4 The Commission's 1993 desalination report
4 Seawater Desalination and the California Coastal Act
California Coastal Commission, August 2003 DRAFT REPORT

© 2005 Sabine Lattemann
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