Learn English – What tense to use when reporting something which has never been true or never happened?

indirect-speechpast-tensepresent-tensetenses

The report said that years ago city planners had planned to build a facility that turns salt water into fresh water, but financial woes made that impossible.

In this sentence should turned be used instead of turns?

Best Answer

I think the only form of the verb that does full justice to both the past-ness of the planning and the non-reality of the desalinization is would have turned. On this construction (would have plus past participle), see this former question.