Economies of size in municipal water treatment technologies: Texas lower Rio Grande Valley

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Title: Economies of size in municipal water treatment technologies: Texas lower Rio Grande Valley
Author: Boyer, Christopher Neil
Abstract: As the U .S . population continues to increase , planning for future water quantity and quality needs is important . Historically , many municipalities have relied heavily on surface water as their major source of drinking water , but recently , technological advancements have improved the economic viability of reverse -osmosis (RO ) desalination of brackish -groundwater as a potable water source . Brackish -groundwater may be an alternative water source that provides municipalities an opportunity to hedge against droughts , political shortfalls , and protection from potential surface -water contamination . This research specifically focuses on investigating economies of size for conventional surface -water treatment and brackish -groundwater desalination by using results from four water treatment facilities in the Texas Lower Rio Grande Valley (LRGV ) . The methodology and results can have direct implications on future water planning . Economic and financial life -cycle costs were estimated for a "small" - conventional -surface water facility (2 .0 million gallons per day (mgd ) Olmito facility ) and a "small" -brackish -groundwater desalination facility (1 .13 mgd La Sara facility ) . Prior analyses were modified to determine similar costs for a "medium" -sized conventional surface -water facility (8 .25 mgd McAllen Northwest facility ) and a "medium" -sized brackish -groundwater desalination facility (7 .5 mgd Southmost facility ) . The life -cycle costs of the "small" Olmito facility are compared to the life -cycle costs of the "medium" Northwest facility and the life -cycle costs of the "small" La Sara facility are compared against the life -cycle costs of the "medium" Southmost facility to determine the existence of economies of size . This research was facilitated by the use of the CITY H20 ECONOMICS ? and the DESAL ECONOMICS ? Excel ? spreadsheet models previously developed by Texas AgriLife Research and Texas AgriLife Extension Service agricultural economists . Although the results are applicable to the Texas LRGV , economies of size are apparent in conventional surface -water treatment and constant economies of size are evident in brackish -groundwater desalination . This research also concludes that RO desalination of brackish -groundwater is economically competitive with conventional surface -water treatment in this region .
URI: http : / /hdl .handle .net /1969 .1 /85984
Date: 2008-10-10

Citation

Economies of size in municipal water treatment technologies: Texas lower Rio Grande Valley. Available electronically from http : / /hdl .handle .net /1969 .1 /85984 .

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