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Britain's first desalination plant opens

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only
by Staff Writers
London (UPI) Apr 22, 2011
Britain's first desalination plant, capable of adding 150 million gallons of fresh water to reservoirs every day, has begun operation, officials say.

Thames Water says it believes the $445 million plant, which works by removing salt from the brackish water in the Thames River, will end the risk of droughts affecting its customers, The Daily Telegraph reported Friday.

Controversy has surrounded the plant in Beckton, East London, because it consumes twice as much energy per quart as conventional water purification, the newspaper said.

The company said it was currently running the plant as a test and that it was not a sign of any impending water shortages.

"We began using the desalination plant at one-sixth output on March 30, not because we need to but as part of the fine-tuning of the works and the training of its operators, and we have been using it intermittently since then," Thames Water spokesman Simon Evans said.

"Although at the moment our reservoirs are 95 percent full we never know what the weather will bring," he said.

Thames Water provides service to 8.7 million people in the London area.

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