The University of Texas at El Paso's College of Engineering (UTEP) has received half of a $1.3m grant from the Bureau of Reclamation to advance water treatment research.

The allocation of the grant money, including $500,000 for a demonstration project and $150,000 for a research project to be conducted by five research and laboratory study facilities has been made under the Desalination and Water Purification Program.

The demonstration project involving zero discharge desalination will be conducted by UTEP’s Center for Inland Desalination Systems at the Brackish Groundwater National Desalination Research Facility in Alamagordo, New Mexico to expand the availability of drinkable water in the desert region.

Additionally, $150,000 research grant will be used by UTEP professor of environmental engineering; Anthony Tarquin to study high-water volume recovery for silica saturated reverse osmosis (RO) concentrate using a batch-treatment seawater RO system.

Bureau of Reclamation commissioner Michael Connor said that innovative solutions will be needed to address the growing water and energy needs in the West.

“These grants will help Reclamation find new technologies to treat water more efficiently and with less energy to meet those future demands,” Connor said.