How Can Desalination Solve the Global Water Crisis?

environment, technology
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Can Desalination solve the global water crisis?

That is a question raised by many in the scientific communities. They are concerned that increasing population and growing economies will continue to overwhelm natural freshwater resources. Adding more to already overflowing supplies of saltwater is only going to increase pressure on already over-stressed pipes. The need for a permanent solution is urgent.

There is some optimism that a fundamental change in the way that water is distributed around the world may be possible. Water managers at the highest levels of most countries have accepted the fact that the time for change has come. The higher ups have debated the possibility of introducing a new infrastructure for water transportation and management, with limited success. The increased use of canister-type distillers may be able to help, but there is still a long way to go.

New technology shows great promise in dealing with the challenge of increasing water demand. The most promising technology is ultra-fast selective fraction distillation. In the United States this technology has been in use since the mid-nineteen seventies. It is now at the experimental stage.

Although there are a number of proposed solutions, they will only be tried if they work. There is no guarantee that any of them can meet the present needs of the global water supply. Some may make a difference in the short term, but not in the long term. Ultra-fast selective fraction distillation may not be sufficient to provide the additional water that is needed to meet future demands.

Other technologies are based on chemical precipitation. This involves using a large-scale evaporative cooling system to extract water vapor from a surrounding water body. The liquid is then sent through a second evaporative cooling chamber where it condenses back into water. This technology may reduce water shortages in some areas today, but it does not look likely that it will be adequate for the future. It may take a lot of new research effort on the part of different scientists and institutions before it can be developed for broader use. There are also a number of problems with chemical precipitation, which may delay its practical application.

A third possible answer to the question “can desalination solve the global water crisis?”

Is through the use of water purification technologies such as reverse osmosis or distillation. These techniques may reduce some of the bad elements in water but they do not have the capacity to completely get rid of all contaminants. They are also very wasteful and their operating costs may be higher than alternative methods. They may not even be cost effective when compared to the use of cheaper and more effective technologies.

Some of the newer technologies such as carbon adsorption on the membrane may offer a better solution for this global problem. This technique reduces chlorine by filtering it out from the water passing through porous surfaces. This can then be recovered and used for other purposes. Although the technology has not been tested for use as a sole solution, it may work as a complement to other treatment methods.

One last way to help tackle the global water crisis is to install large-scale desalination plants along river mouths to help deal with the problem on a local level. These plants will treat water coming from areas where there is a drought and send it to areas with a high demand for water. Although these plants may help to solve the immediate problem, they may be opening the door for new problems as water is redirected away from the local population and towards the booming city populations in the center of the country. This can lead to rising water prices and lower income levels as people search harder for cheaper and more effective sources of energy and water.

Provided by Antonio Westley


Disclaimer: This article is meant to be seen as an overview of this subject and not a reflection of viewpoints or opinions as nothing is definitive. So, make sure to do your research and feel free to use this information at your own discretion.

One thought on “How Can Desalination Solve the Global Water Crisis?

  1. Good article. I think desalination does have a lot of potential. The Cayman Islands get a lot of their water from reverse osmosis plants. There are four of these plants on Grand Cayman and one on Cayman Brac. I would say they have been quite successful. It might be that California will have to do something likee that. Here is an article about Cayman’s water supply:
    https://www.caymancompass.com/2018/03/15/compass-investigation-caymans-water-where-it-comes-from-where-it-goes/

    Liked by 1 person

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