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6 Most Notable Pros and Cons of Desalination

navajocodetalkersadmin on July 23, 2015 - 6:25 pm in Pros and Cons

Droughts and water shortages have caused problems all over the entire world. Most recently, California in the United States has been plagued with this horrific problem. Water is the root of all life, and high amounts of it are needed in order to sustain people, plants, and animals in any part of the world. There have been many theories on how to get more water into the areas where it is desperately needed. Desalination has been at the fore front of this problem, and many believe that it is the only viable solution that we have available. Desalination is the process of taking undrinkable saltwater from the ocean and removing the salt and minerals in it to make it safe to drink. While this process may seem like a complete miracle, there are quite a few things that need to be taken into consideration.

The Pros of Desalination

1. The Technology Is Stable
Reverse osmosis is the process that is used to remove the minerals and salt out of the water being desalinated. This is a process that is fully understood, well researched, and completely reliable and stable. When it comes to processes such as water desalination, it is very important to fully understand what is happening and how it works.

2. Eases Drought Effects
The effects of a long term drought, even just a small drought, can be devastating for the population, environment, businesses, and virtually every other aspect of the area affected. Desalination could help to alleviate many of these problems. It would provide clean drinking water and usable water to water plants and other crops.

3. Remote Locations
One of the biggest concerns that surround any form of treatment plant is how it will affect the area that it is placed in. This is one of the beautiful things about desalination. The plants and facilities that would be needed could be built in remote locations and have virtually no effect on residential areas.

The Cons of Desalination

1. Insanely High Costs Associated
Desalination is an extremely expensive process all around. The costs to build the high tech facilities are monumental, typically near one billion dollars. This high cost is due to the types of equipment that is needed and the special precautions that must be taken when working with salt water that can quickly erode and damage pipes and other types of things. It also takes a high level of energy to desalinate the water, which adds to the running cost of the facility.

2. It Isn’t a Clean Process
Going right along with the high level of energy and fuel that is needed to run a desalination plant, you have to also take a look at the types of pollution and environmental damages that are being done. These plants produce very high amounts of carbon emissions into the atmosphere, which damage the ozone layer of the planet, and further add to the growing problem of global warming. There is a hefty amount of waste products that is also created by desalination, which causes concerns for the surrounding bodies of water.

3. Dangers To Wildlife
The salt and minerals that are removed from the sea water have to be put somewhere, and that somewhere is right back into the ocean. There are very balanced levels of salt and other things that are present in the ocean water, and this is a vital balance for the wildlife. If there is an influx of too much salt, many fish and other living creatures would die. The machines that are used to pull in the massive amounts of water cause harm to these creatures as well. Small fish and other animals are easily sucked into the pipes and killed.

Important Facts About Desalination

  • The process of reverse osmosis desalination was invented in the 1950’s in California.
  • In the entire world there are just around 15,000 functioning desalination plants.
  • Saudi Arabia is the leading country when it comes to desalination. They produce 17 percent of the countries water this way.
  • The highest costs that are incurred are from the high pressure that is needed to push the water through the reverse osmosis process.
  • It costs around 1,000 dollars to produce an acre-foot of desalinated water. An acre-foot is enough water to cover an entire acre, twelve inches deep.
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