California IN BRIEF : SAN RAFAEL : City Will Test Desalination Plant

From Times staff and Wire reports

Some Marin County residents could be the first in the state with taps gushing purified ocean water if an experimental desalination plant proves successful. The plant, which went on line this week, promises to lessen dependence on winter storms for drinking water and ease the effects of the drought. Because the plant uses the ocean as its source, "it is a drought-proof water supply," said Ron Johnson, general manager of the Marin Municipal Water District. Reverse osmosis, the process used in the three-month experiment, will purify 2,500 gallons of seawater a day. If successful, the district will ask voters next year to approve a $60-million plant to supply 5 million gallons a day, about one-seventh of the district's needs.

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