SECURITY - A study published by United Nations’ water researchers says there has been an “exponential increase” in global desalination capacity compared to 20 years ago — and a concomitant increase in the flow of polluted, hyper-salty brine water into the ocean.
While the biggest plants are located in the Middle East, North Africa, Spain and small island nations, the study estimates that there are now 15,906 desalination plants operating in 177 countries (with more than 300 in Sub-Saharan Africa).
South Africa has about 10 small desalination projects, including pilot plants built in the coastal cities of Cape Town and Richards Bay after the recent severe drought. Similar plans have been proposed to ease growing water demand in the Durban area.
The new research suggests that 40% of the world’s people face severe water scarcity already, and that this bleak situation will only get worse because of human population growth, development, inland water pollution and climate change.
is a process whereby salt is taken from seawater to make fresh
The technology is useful in some applications, but is counter-productive
in terms of wasting energy. Especially fossil fuel generated heat or
addition, marine flora and fauna
that is ingested via desalination plant intakes, has the potential to destabilize
The importance of ensuring that water is well-managed is a high priority
in sustainable terms. Using more energy than is needed to produce
drinking water, and water for irrigation is irresponsible.
mature ecosystems with man-made terraforming projects is unnatural,
potentially making the violators of natures laws climate
Desertification gives rise to mass human migration as climate change
refugees who will need feeding as a result of the excesses of the
Desalination uses one of two main methods. The first is reverse osmosis, where seawater is forced through a membrane at high pressure. The membrane allows water molecules to pass through but prevents any other chemicals dissolved in the water from passing through.
The second is thermal desalination. Older (thermal) desalination plants may work using a principle similar to distillation:
- the salt water is heated or the water is allowed to evaporate
- the water vapour is collected rather than being lost
- the water vapour is condensed to form pure water/fresh water
- the salt is left behind and can be used for other purposes
There are a number of disadvantages to using desalination:
1. Both (typical) desalination processes use a lot more energy than traditional water treatment methods.
2. The increased energy demand means that desalination is more expensive than traditional water treatment methods. This means some poorer countries that would benefit from desalination cannot afford it.
3. The increased energy demand means that desalination produces more greenhouse gases than traditional water treatment methods, which produce very little in comparison.
The very salty water produced by membrane desalination is a pollutant and must be disposed of carefully.
5. Desalination plants may be a very long distance from some populated areas and large lengths of water pipes must be built to get the water to the people who need it.
Desalination is most commonly used in the Middle East because:
- rainfall is low
- many of the countries have coastlines
- many of the countries have access to cheap oil for energy
- many of the countries are quite wealthy
Seawater desalination is a reliable solution to the shortage of potable water in numerous regions in the world. However, the separation process is energy intensive and expensive and has a high carbon footprint [Darwish et al. 2009]. The production of freshwater using renewable energy sources (RES) is thought to be a viable solution, but the technology is still expensive and not mature. The application of solar-thermal energy for seawater desalination [Alarcón-Padilla et al., 2008; and Hardiman et al., 2009] is in particular interesting due to several reasons such as: a) solar energy is abundant in almost all regions that potable water is scarce, b) while wind energy and photovoltaic solar cells can only be used indirectly (i.e., generating electricity followed be desalination), solar-thermal energy systems can be used directly as well as indirectly for large-scale seawater desalination.
Seawater desalination technology is being considered for irrigated agriculture in other regions such as the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) or the states of Florida and California in the United States. In Saudi Arabia, agriculture is the largest water-consuming sector, constituting > 90% of the total water use. As part of Saudi Arabia's strategy to cope with limited water resources, seawater desalination is proposed as one measure to redress the water shortage. Some studies are analyzing the potential of using DSW for growing crops in this country, which has a desalination capacity of nearly 2000 Mm3 year. For that matter, newly developed tools have been applied for optimizing cropping patterns under limited land and water availability for DSW use in agriculture by analyzing a case study with a 21 Mm3 year− 1 capacity SWDP and about 84,753 ha of possible irrigated fields along the Arabian Gulf.
In Florida, the Commissioner of Agriculture stated that conservation and reuse alone will not be enough to guarantee future agricultural water supplies, and thus suggested DSW should be included in water planning as a reliable source that is resistant to droughts and shortages. In California, where roughly 80% of the water supply goes to agriculture and where one of the most severe drought periods in its modern history persists, the Carlsbad SWDP was built and opened in December 2015 in San Diego, which is the largest in America with a 69 Mm3 year− 1 capacity. It is the first intervention leading to the diversification of water resources in California, but 15 more SWDPs have been proposed. In both American cases, the plan is that following the domestic use of DSW, the resulting wastewater will be reclaimed and reused for crop irrigation. Finally, it should be noted that national assessments of the agricultural applicability of desalination are currently underway in Chile, China, and Australia.
Not much is known on the environmental and ecological impacts on the marine ecosystem. Specifically, the effects of discharging brine and chemicals, used routinely in the desalination process, have been poorly documented.
Seawater covers 71% of the planet surface and represents 97% of the world's water.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
Despite the vast improvements that have been made in the last few decades in Desalination The energy requirements that are associate with the process are still tremendous. Desalinization plants consume lots of energy and this has held the construction of these processes from coming into fruition for many years. With the solution to this energy problem just over the horizon. The main modern approach is to desalinization is a mechanical process called Reverse Osmosis that uses a high-pressure filtering system.
Desalination technology has been around for centuries. In the Middle East, people have long evaporated brackish groundwater or seawater, then condensed the vapor to produce salt-free water for drinking or, in some cases, for agricultural irrigation.
Over time the process has become more sophisticated. Most modern desalination facilities use reverse osmosis, in which water is pumped at high pressure through semipermeable membranes that remove salt and other minerals.
Worldwide about 300 million people get some freshwater from more than 17,000 desalination plants in 150 countries. Middle East countries have dominated that market out of necessity and
energy availability, but with threats of freshwater shortages spreading around the world, others are rapidly joining their ranks. Industry capacity is growing about 8 percent per year, according to Randy Truby, comptroller and past president of the International Desalination Association, an industry group, with “bursts of activity” in places such as Australia and Singapore.
Think about how only 71% of the water on earth is drinkable and that there is more water that is located underground. In fact, there are more than 320 cubic millions of miles of water on and underground on the earth and of all that water on only 4% of that is water is drinkable with
growing populations in the near future we won’t have enough water to supply the
growing population in the next 20 years or so won’t be able to handle that expected growth.
A researcher from Massachusetts Institute of Technology estimated in their reports this year that by the year 2050, more than half of the world’s population (about 5 billion people) will live in areas that are water-stressed. India, Northern Africa, and the
Middle East are some of the regions that are expected to have the worst issues, but they’re also will be problems in areas of the western world where arid conditions prevail. Water Stressed means Water scarcity and refers to the volumetric abundance, or lack thereof, of water supply. Water stress refers to the ability, or lack thereof, to meet human and ecological demand for water. Compared to scarcity, “water stress” is a more inclusive and broader concept.
Energy consumption is the biggest hurdle that Desalinization has to face. Desalinization has been around for centuries especially in the middle east were taking salt or brackish water that was unusable for drinking or agriculture stored it evaporated it and then condensed the vapor to produce salt-free water for drinking or, in some cases, for agricultural irrigation. They knew that the salt could be removed by evaporation for many years.
As the years went by new types of innovations were put to use that could increase the amount of freshwater and were more sophisticated. Most modern desalination facilities use reverse osmosis, in which water is pumped at high pressure through semipermeable membranes that remove salt and other minerals.
At present, there is over 17,000 Desalinization around the world in more than 15 countries. The Middle East especially Israel has dominated the market because of necessity and location. The industry is growing around 8 % per/year. In the
States, a $1 billion plant that was built in desalinated water typically costs about $2,000 an acre-foot — roughly the amount of water a family of five uses in a year.
The cost is about double that of water obtained from building a new reservoir or recycling wastewater, according to a 2013 study from the state Department of Water
Resources. This plant will provide about 7 % of the water needed for San Diego and its surrounding area. They have more than 16
plants in the works to provide water for California. That should answer your question of whether Desalinization is the solution for coastal regions with growing populations.
What we call new technologies that have been around for many years because of locations like very arid regions that were populated and needed water to
support life, where life should perhaps not be supported. Now with new problems like
overpopulation and water scarcity more drastic solutions must be put into place that makes these
uninhabitable places appear attractive. But they should be subject to carbon
taxing and other disincentives.
Desalinization looks like one solution to a problem that only brings on another problem after solving the problem that was intended to fix. Desalination is viewed as one of many factors contributing to
climate change and global warming. Areas, where freshwater was once plentiful, are now dry and desert-like. As temperature rises on the earth and the sea ice melts, this causes more of the sea levels to rise. The more
greenhouse gases are emitted and the more energy that’s consumed, the worse
global warming gets. then the Sea levels will continue to rise even to higher levels.
The ocean where the salt water is pumped from is home to a diverse population of sea creatures that inhabitant these areas. With all the talk of desalinization of ocean water for drinking for our overcrowded cities and coastal areas inhabiting our coastal area, what do we know about the impacts this might have on climate, ocean salinity, and other natural processes? Most researchers say nothing and we won’t know anytime soon until changes start to task place.
Most scientist recognizes the expense of Desalinization of our oceans as a high cost, energy intensiveness and high overall ecological footprint as a risk. Most environmental advocates view desalinization (or desalination)‚ the conversion of salty ocean water into fresh water‚ as a last resort for providing fresh water to needy populations. It’s not the final solution but only another route to take us where we need to go. Right now it can answer a lot of questions even though there is a price to pay to do it.
Coral reefs require marine organisms to flourish. But as desalination takes place, numerous organisms, plankton, and fish larvae are vacuumed up in the saltwater that goes to the plant. The tiniest of organisms that are required to feed and are home to start off the basis of the ocean food chain is affected by intake pumps used by Desalinization plants to pull salt-water to produce fresh drinking water. This is the beginning that plays a role in the death of coral reefs, and it decreases the bottom of the marine food chain. When there’s a disruption to the food chain, the entire biodiversity of the ocean is at risk. From the smallest creatures to the biggest creatures.
According to the U.S. Department of the Interior, the sheer cost of operating a desalination plant is what has kept them from being more widely used. For most governments or private companies, the cost is too high to even consider. Most desalination plants are in the Middle East, where the demand is high and oil-rich countries have the money to fund the
plants, though should be more careful with their fossil fuel money.
DISADVANTAGES OF DESALINATION
As with any process, desalination has by-products that must be taken care of. The process of Desalinization requires the use of cleaning chemicals and pre-treatment chemicals which are added to the water before desalination to make the treatment more efficient and successful.
The Chemicals used in the process are substances that include chlorine, hydrochloric acid, and hydrogen peroxide, They can’t be used continuously and have to be replenished. Once they’ve lost their ability to clean the water, these chemicals are dumped, which becomes a major environmental concern. These chemicals often find their way back into the ocean, where they have the capacity to poison plant and animal life.
Brine is the side product of the Desalinization process. While the purified water goes on to be processed and put into human use, the wastewater that is left over, which has a supersaturation of salt, that must be disposed of. Most desalination plants pump this brine back into the ocean, which presents another environmental drawback. Ocean species are not equipped to adjust to the immediate change in salinity caused by the release of brine into the area.
The super-saturated saltwater also decreases oxygen levels in the water, causing animals and plants to suffocate. This leads to all kinds of changes that can upset the area of the environment. According to a 2008 article in the Ecologist, modern desalination plants typically use around 2-kilowatt hours of
electricity to produce a cubic meter of drinking water, and this
electricity is often generated using fossil fuels.
The San Diego County Water Authority has agreed to purchase the water from Poseidon Water, the Carlsbad plant’s operator, for about $2,000 an acre-foot for 30 years after the plant goes online. (An acre-foot is the volume of water that would cover an acre with one foot of water — about 326,000 gallons, or 1,234 cubic meters.) The trouble is, that cost is almost double what the agency now pays for water, and will raise ratepayers’ bills by about 10 percent, according to NBC News.
Water Scarcity is the lack of sufficient available water resources to meet the demands of water usage within a region. It already affects every continent and around 2.8 billion people around the world at least one month out of every year. More than 1.2 billion people lack access to clean drinking water. The world has water but it doesn’t have the water in the places where it’s needed the most.
ARE INCREASING - “Desertification, land degradation and drought are major threats affecting millions of people worldwide,” said the UN chief, “particularly women and children.”
Mr. Guterres said that it is time to “urgently” change such trends, adding that protecting and restoring land can “reduce forced migration, improve food security and spur economic growth”, as well as helping to address the “global climate emergency”.
But desalination is adding to the problem of desertification, where kleptocratic
administrations keep empire building. Silly billies!
OF HABIT - The
United Nations is an organization that is finding it hard to persuade
kleptocratic members to change their dirty energy
and intensive farming
habits that are collectively eroding soil for growing crops at an
alarming rate. The reason being that their
more prominent members are the biggest users of fossil
fuels, with so
much invested in oil and gas
production that they cannot
give up this source of wealth creation. Their shareholders want
their dividends no matter how much it hurts the planet.