Why Is Water Desalination Needed: The 7 Main Reasons

Water desalination is becoming an increasingly important part of our everyday lives. Although we tend not to think about it, the water that comes out of our taps or goes down the drain is what desalination aims to produce. Clean fresh water is often taken for granted, particularly in the developed world where we have been brought to expect it in a limitless supply, wanting to narrow down the main reasons behind desalination necessity pushed me to write this guide.

Desalination is needed due to the world’s population increasing whilst global freshwater sources are shrinking. The exponential effect of growing demand coupled with decreasing supply is the underlying reason behind desalination’s necessity, however, there are other contributing factors.

Population growth drives the need for desalination.

The primary driver of water demand is population growth, which is expected to continue. As the global population grows, so does our need for more water. Desalination is needed to keep up with increased demand and to ensure that enough clean fresh water can be produced for drinking and hygiene purposes in areas where it might not otherwise be accessible or affordable.

In addition, desalination can be very beneficial when there’s a drought or shortage of fresh water elsewhere: you can use desalinated seawater instead (or in conjunction) with other sources of water to fit your needs!

Climate change creates water shortages.

Water shortages are predicted to become more common in the future, due to climate change. Climate change is predicted to cause droughts and floods, resulting in water shortages throughout the world. Desalination can help with these shortages, but it’s not a long-term solution. Although some models predict global rainfall to increase due to a warming climate, the geographical distribution of the areas to receive increased rainfall levels does not necessarily match population distributions. Due to the mismatch in rainfall and population as the general prediction is wet areas get wetter and dry areas drier, it does not help address the issue.

A lack of clean drinking water can lead to disease.

Clean drinking water is essential to life, yet people in many parts of the world do not have access to clean, safe water. Waterborne diseases are a big problem, as they can cause dehydration and even death. Some examples include cholera and typhoid fever which are spread through contaminated water. Desalination provides access to a clean reliable water supply which can reduce a population’s reliance on contaminated local water sources.

The lack of clean drinking water is a huge problem in many countries where people don’t have access to clean sources for their daily needs. It’s estimated that 3 billion people worldwide live without safe drinking water or adequate sanitation facilities or hygiene practices; nearly 1 billion live within 30 minutes walk from an improved source but use unimproved sources for drinking purposes; about 500 million people do not use any kind of domestic sanitation facility at all, and more than 2 million children die each year from diarrheal illnesses associated with poor hygiene practices related to inadequate access to safe water supplies or disposal facilities

Increasingly saline water can cause environmental damage.

Highly saline water can lead to severe environmental damage. It is evident in the more arid agricultural areas of the globe like Western Australia where salinity levels are increasing in groundwater and surface water supplies leading to livestock and native animals dying from consuming highly saline water. These natural water sources are getting more and more saline due to the increased demand for freshwater from agricultural and regional industries. Although desalination will likely never replace natural water sources in broadacre farming, it can certainly help reduce the demand.

Water for agricultural use comes from rivers and lakes, and that can create problems for those ecosystems.

Agriculture is a major user of water. The world relies on its rivers and lakes for food, so agricultural needs have to be met. But that can create problems for those ecosystems if they’re not managed properly, particularly in form of decreasing water levels and availability leading to the potential destruction of ecosystems. Desalination brings non-salty water into areas that would otherwise be extracted from natural water sources, thus reducing the impact. The interesting thing with desalination for agricultural uses is that certain crops and livestock can tolerate a higher level of salinity than humans, this creates the opportunity to tailor desalination plants to certain agricultural areas at slightly lower requirements, enabling more rapid and efficient production than would be expected when adhering to drinking water standards.

The freshwater shortage leads to food shortages.

The water shortage leads to food shortages. Having water shortages in agricultural areas that don’t have access to desalination sources inevitably leads to a reduction in food output. Most nutrient-dense foods require a lot of water, this applies to both fruits and vegetables as well as livestock like cattle and pigs, which require water to grow their food sources. This means that not only will you not have enough drinking water but you won’t have enough food either!

Desalination is necessary for areas where the water supply is limited, or not a good long-term solution.

Due to its independence from its surrounding environment, desalination is a good solution for areas with limited access to clean drinking water. All that is required is access to an energy source or mobile generator setup and salt water, this enables freshwater production in areas ravaged by natural disasters like tsunamis, earthquakes and long-term droughts.

There are many reasons why desalination will become a bigger part of our everyday lives in the future

In the future, desalination is likely to become a bigger part of our everyday lives. Although perhaps desalination will never become the sole source of freshwater, there are many reasons why desalination will be increasingly needed in the future.

  • Desalination is one way to solve water shortages.
  • Technology is advancing in the area, leading to increased efficiency.
  • Desalination is not dependent on local climate or geography to produce drinking water.
  • Waste products are increasingly being utilized, improving economic benefits.
  • Education on desalination is improving, improving public perception

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