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Bechtel’s Impact Report

Desalination Facilities and Conveyance

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Reducing reliance on freshwater systems

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the critical need for water resources for human health, safety, and sanitation, especially in developing economies. However, the global water sector continues to be critically underfunded and inefficient. The present value of the investments needed through 2030 to achieve the United Nations Goal 6 of universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all is approximately U.S. $1.7 trillion. That is about three times the current allocated investment worldwide.

Addressing the global water crisis requires interventions across geographies; sectors, such as agriculture, energy, manufacturing; and climate, hydrogeology, and material science disciplines. One potential option to supplement fresh water supply is to look to the sea.

How we can help

We are working with industrial customers and municipalities to develop desalination facilities, water storage and conveyance, industrial raw water and wastewater treatment and pumped storage.

Desalination can be an expensive, energy intensive prospect for municipalities. Bechtel can help customers leverage financing sources, including Development Finance Institutions and pension funds.

Desalination and pumped storage – clean, efficient water at significantly reduced cost.

two workers walk by a desalination facility

Desalination and pumped storage

By combining desalination facilities with pumped storage solutions, customers can create a sustainable  supply of renewable power and clean water.

picture of Atacama desert


Escondida's system brings seawater into the desalination plant, filters much of its dissolved mineral and biological content using a reverse osmosis process. The desalinated water is then pumped 10,000 feet up the mountain to the mine.

woman in desalination lab

Supplementing freshwater supplies through desalination

Bechtel has worked with our customers to implement several technology-agnostic approaches to desalination. Our teams can manage the complexities and interface risks inherent to large desalination projects and associated infrastructure, such as power generation facilities and conveyance systems.