Desalination can be defined as a process where salt water is converted into drinking water. In this procedure, the salt and other semi-solid materials present in the fluid is effectively removed. The process is generally conducted upon seawater or brackish water. In the financial year of 2002, more than 12,500 desalination plants supplied a total of 14 million cubic meters of fresh drinking water per day in 120 countries. It is estimated that the worldwide plant capacity for desalination and water treatment has doubled by the end of 2015.
- Access to Drinking Water
Water desalination plants in a particular location where there is a shortage of natural drinking water can provide drinking water. Some islands present in the Caribbean, avail most of their drinking with the help of these desalination plants. Through this process, countries such as Saudi Arabia receive 70% of its fresh water. The process can be used to harvest water during the time of any drought even in countries where fresh water is abundant. For example, the United States is using 6.5% of the world’s desalinated water supply.
- Quality and Habitat Protection
Water desalinized generally meets or exceeds water quality standards. Water desalination plants can also reduce the pressure on supplies of fresh water from areas that need to be protected. These important freshwater bodies can be preserved by treating ocean water instead of removing it from sources that may also be habitats for endangered species.
- It would preserve current freshwater supplies.
Since the supply of freshwater to the planet is somewhat limited, it makes sense to preserve it as much as practically possible. It would secure more resources to be used where conservation efforts are presently being put in place, as water scarcity is currently on the hike.
- High Cost of Operation
Construction and operation of desalination companies are costly. Establishing a plant can cost millions of dollars, depending on its location. Sometimes the figure may also reach the high billions. So it is safe to say that the planning and construction of a Desalination plant is comparatively an expensive procedure. Once operational, large amounts of energy are required by plants. Energy costs represent only half of the desalinated water production costs. As energy comprises such a significant part of the total cost, changes in energy prices also significantly affect the cost.
- Environmental Impact
Another disadvantage for desalination of seawater for drinking is that the plants cause an ecological impact. A significant problem is the residue salt after its removal from the water. Also, the process in itself extracts a lot of harmful chemicals that can be injurious in high concentrations, including, carbon dioxide, chlorine, hydrochloric acid.
- It might risk producing contaminated water.
Although Desalinization can produce high – quality water, it can also introduce biological or chemical contaminants into the water supply. It will have an impact on the location and design of the plants, which should be heavily monitored by the local government to ensure safety.