Desalination is often touted as potential technological solution to our water problems. Most of the earth’s water is salty, and with growing populations in coastal areas around the world, turning seawater into drinking water has tremendous appeal. However, desalination is costly and energy intensive, and also produces tremendous environmental impacts from huge water intakes and disposal of the left over salty sludge. A recent report on desalination from the National Research Council (an arm of the National Academy of Sciences, an independent organization chartered by Congress to advise the government on scientific matters) sees promise in desalination. But to make desalination a cost-effective and environmental sound solution, significant research and leadership from the federal government will be required, according to the report. You can read the report, “Desalination: A National Perspective” online for free through the National Academies Press.