The ocean makes up almost 70 percent of the world’s surface. It also accounts for up to 96 percent of water on the entire planet. The problem? This water cannot be consumed as it is, it is oversaturated with salt.
Desalination in Cape Town aims to remedy the problem of having “water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink” by using this salt water to create potable water in countries that are experiencing significant drought. Read on below for reasons why desalination is becoming so important for our future.
It is economical
The technological advances that have been made in desalination in Cape Town and the world over mean that it has now become an economical choice for countries looking at a decreased water supply.
The total cost of desalination decreased from $1.70 per meters cubed in 1998 to $0.70 per meters cubed in 2000. This has made it one of the most affordable water supply options available today. Countries such as China have been using desalination to combat their own water shortage issues and have seen financial savings abound when considering desalination for their water issues.
It protects freshwater aquifers
Using desalination can help to protect freshwater aquifers from brackish water intrusion. While this is important on islands and in coastal regions, it is also highly helpful for inland countries who are experiencing water shortages.
For example, an institution in Texas captures brackish water and pumps it into the facility before the salty groundwater can reach and contaminate the fresh water. Protecting freshwater is one of the major environmental benefits and is why desalination is becoming so important in recent years. By using a secondary water source, we are protecting freshwater sources and keeping them potable for future use.
It diversifies existing water sources
Desalination in Cape Town and around the world diversifies water supplies, which can prevent the depletion of existing water sources. It can go hand-in-hand with a conservation plan for both surface and groundwater sources as it offers a viable solution to water shortage.
Inland desalination plants are equally as useful, with both oceanic and inland desalination plants helping to save up to 104 million litres of water daily from the area’s sea or brackish water supply. Desalination plants can provide cities with 25 percent more fresh water, helping to allay the water crisis for years to come.
The water can be used by industries
The water that is produced by desalination plants can be used by industries such as the food and beverage industry, allowing the rest of the population to use the existing water sources without fear of depleting them.
By using the desalinated water instead of groundwater or surface water, these industries will be contributing to water conservation. The water that is produced by these industries can also be filtered and reused by them, helping to limit water waste from food and beverage, oil and gas and many other industries.
It is a comprehensive water treatment
Removing salt from water to make it usable is an impressive feat all on its own, but desalination in Cape Town removes much more than this too. The process removes pollutants and contaminants, including arsenic and nitrates.
The process uses ultrafiltration and media filtration to prepare this water for reverse osmosis in order to remove the salt from the water cells. This also helps with water reuse which is essential for landlocked areas and areas that are in a drought. By using reverse osmosis, dissolved salts and heavy metals are removed from the water before it is reused.
There is a growing need for water
Arguably one of the biggest reasons why desalination is becoming so important is because the world’s population is growing. And, thanks to this, there is a growing need for water, not to mention the influx of droughts recently in many countries.
Having a source of water that will help to diminish the use of fresh water will help to meet this growing need for water. Desalination plants can produce millions of litres of water on a regular basis, which industries and municipalities can use for meeting the needs of the people. The growing need for water is one to be concerned about, but with the technology of desalination, it can be remedied effectively.
Desalination is important because of the environmental and economic impact it will have on the world. It can help industries by allowing them to use an alternative water source to the surface water, it can protect freshwater aquifers and it is a comprehensive water treatment option.
The world’s population is growing steadily, and we need a solution because everyone needs water to survive. Desalination provides this water source by diversifying the existing water sources, making it easier to meet these needs.