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Remarks Upon Signing Bill To Expand and Extend the Saline Water Conversion Program

September 22, 1961

I am glad to approve H.R. 7916, which expands and extends the saline water conversion program being conducted by the Department of the Interior. This act authorizes the appropriation of $75 million for research and development over the next 6 years, and extends the 1958 Demonstration Plant Act to 1970.

The enactment of this bill into law is very important to the future of our country. Present shortages of water are already adversely affecting industrial development in important sections of the United States. Unless these necessary steps are taken now, within 15 years these shortages will become a serious handicap. This bill opens the door to development of a means whereby low-cost water can be made available from limitless sources.

Cheap conversion of saline and brackish water is a goal within our reach, and dedicated efforts will answer the hopes which have attracted the attention of mankind for many centuries. In less than a decade, the cost of converting salt water has been reduced from about $5 per thousand gallons to almost $1 per thousand gallons. While this progress is significant and encouraging, our objective, which is to make fresh water secured from salt or brackish water competitive with other fresh water, is still to be achieved.

There is nothing, really, that we can do in this country that can mean more in the long run to our people and to people all around the world than to be able to make an important and significant scientific breakthrough in this area. This legislation helps and moves us towards that goal, and we want to express America's appreciation and thanks to everyone in the country and to the Members of Congress who have concerned themselves in this matter over the years.

Note: As enacted, H.R. 7916 is Public Law 87-295 (75 Stat. 628).

John F. Kennedy, Remarks Upon Signing Bill To Expand and Extend the Saline Water Conversion Program Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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