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Salt water from the oceans can solve freshwater crisis

climate change, fresh water, desalination, California

There might be a solutions for the future. A desalination plant which is cost efficient and delivers health, cheap drinking water

It’s been a cruel irony for people in Delta Cities. An ocean full of water and not a drop to drink. 

 

There might be a solutions for the future. A desalination plant which is cost efficient and delivers health, cheap drinking water. 

Thanks to improved technology, turning ocean water into freshwater is becoming more economically feasible. And a looming global water crisis may make it crucial to the planet’s future.

Climate change

The United Nations predicts that by 2025, two-thirds of the world’s population will suffer water shortages, especially in the developing world and the parched Middle East. Even in the U.S., demand for water in California is outpacing supply.

This is why a huge desalination plant is under construction in Carlsbad, California, some 30 miles north of San Diego. When completed in 2016, it will be the largest such facility in the Western Hemisphere and create 50 million gallons of freshwater a day.

We’re running out of fresh water. This sounds weird in a world that is mostly water, but unfortunately all of our oceans are salt water.

A growing trend

Most desalination technology follows one of two methods: distillation through thermal energy or the use of membranes to filter salt from water.

In the distillation process, saltwater is heated to produce water vapor, which is then condensed and collected as freshwater. The other method employs reverse osmosis to pump seawater through semi-permeable membranes — paper-like filters with microscopic holes — that trap the salt while allowing freshwater molecules to pass through. The remaining salty water is then pumped back into the ocean.

Officials at the Carlsbad plant say they can covert two gallons of seawater into one gallon of freshwater by filtering out 99.9% of the salt.

Facts & Figures

  • There are some 16,000 desalination plants on the planet, and their numbers are rising. The amount of desalted water produced around the world has more than tripled since 2000.
  • Around 700 million people in 43 countries suffer today from water scarcity.
  • By 2025, 1.8 billion people will be living in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity, and two-thirds of the world’s population could be living under water stressed conditions.
  • With the existing climate change scenario, almost half the world’s population will be living in areas of high water stress by 2030, including between 75 million and 250 million people in Africa.
    In addition, water scarcity in some arid and semi-arid places will displace between 24 million and 700 million people.
  • Sub-Saharan Africa has the largest number of water-stressed countries of any region.

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