Wind-Powered Desalination: An Estimate of Saline Groundwater in the United States

James Androwski, Abraham Springer, Thomas Acker, Mark Manone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Increasing scarcity of freshwater resources in many regions of the world is leading water resource managers to consider desalination as a potential alternative to traditional freshwater supplies. Desalination technologies are energy intensive and expensive to implement making desalination using renewable energy resources a potentially attractive option. Unfortunately, saline groundwater resources are not well characterized for many regions hindering consideration of such technologies. In this assessment, we estimate the saline groundwater resources of the principal aquifers of the United States using a geographic information system and correlate these resources to wind resources potentially sufficient to supply the energy demand of desalination equipment. We estimate that 3.1×1014m3 saline groundwater, total volume, are contained in 28 of the country's principal aquifers known to contain saline groundwater. Of this volume, 1.4×1014m3 saline groundwater are co-located with wind resources sufficient for electrical generation to desalinate groundwater.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-102
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American Water Resources Association
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2011


  • Aquifer characteristics
  • Desalination
  • Geospatial analysis
  • Saline groundwater
  • Water supply
  • Water-resource planning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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