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Ambassador report

[Ambassador report] Free report - Feb 2020 "Environmental impacts of seawater desalination"

by Aaditya Singh | 21-02-2020 21:41 Comments 9 Comments recommendations 0 recommendations

Environmental impacts of seawater desalination

Having lived in UAE for long- where in arid desert conditions, the sea is the main source of water, and desalination is a required process for getting potable water, I give due importance to desalination and the significance of its impact on the environment. Through this report I am trying to present this topic for all members.

What is desalination?

The process of desalination involves removing salt and minerals from seawater, to turns it into a potable resource. At times, Desalination is invaluable to provide clean drinking water in areas with water scarcity. It serves as a long term solution to the water crisis.

However, while experts do believe that desalination can be the key to ensuring drought proof communities, there are a number of environmental risks related to the process as well.

1. Brine Disposal

When seawater is being desalinated only half of the water will end up as fresh water. The rest will be a toxic chemical mixture of brine. It has been found that desalination plants can produce over 141.5 million cubic meters of brine per day. Disposing this brine solution is not only costly but also harmful to marine life if disposed in the ocean.

However, modern technology is constantly being improved and improvised to ensure that a sustainable and environment friendly use of brine or a green way to dispose the substance will be found in the near future. This can also create new economic opportunities when it comes to brine.

2. Danger to Marine life

Another part of the process that is considered harmful is the intake of the seawater. Marine life can also get sucked in when the water from the ocean is taken in. These animals then die (impingement). When the treatment process is going on, smaller animals like smaller fish or plankton can also be affected and die (entrainment).

However, even with this problem, experts believe that technology and better placement will ensure that there is an environment friendly way to improve the intake process. These include using natural filters from the ocean bed rather than the ocean surface or using better quality filters and mesh's.

3. Energy consumption

Another big problem that the industry needs to resolve is related to energy consumption. This is a concern in any industry but it has been proven that there is over 200 million kilowatt-hours of energy per day when it comes to the desalination industry. Up to 55% of a plants operating costs go to energy. Researchers have still not found an eco friendly and cheaper alternative till now but they believe using solar power will be a possible method.

Bottom Line

Desalination has some drawbacks but researchers are finding ways of implementing the system without any negative environmental effects. These solutions include updated filtration, safe intake systems and solar energy.

It is said that future wars will not be over oil but over water. In the times to come, desalination can perhaps prove to be a valuable means to end water scarcity with due attention to minimising the environmental impact of the processes.

Sources and references



Jasmine Karki

  • Jasmine Karki says :
    I do hope you are doing all good..

    Thank you for sharing such wonderful report on 'Environmental impacts of sea water desalination'!!
    Hope to learn more from you ..

    Green cheers
    Jasmine karki
    Posted 24-02-2020 00:06

Lisa Mentor

  • Lisa Mentor says :
    Hello Aaditya!
    It's Lisa your mentor.

    I can see how big a problem can be!
    But if some kind of new technology can be devised to solve some of its problems and only reap the benefits from desalination, I agree with you that this can be a solution to water scarcity. However, all the while I wonder what will happen to the ecosystem that has its basis on the salted water. I am sure that such water does have some living creatures in it and if we start destroying the habitation, what will happen?

    I should do some research myself!
    Thank you for sharing a great report:)
    Posted 23-02-2020 22:29

Hyeongmin Mentor

  • Hyeongmin Mentor says :
    Hello Aaditya

    I agree with your points about the desalination. It is a necessary process, but its environmental impacts should be concerned. I believe that certain level of technological development can resolve most of the issues from desalination. That might be the moment when the sustainable development is finally achieved, and I hope the day comes as soon as possible.

    Thank you for the great report!
    Posted 23-02-2020 17:03

Dibya Bhatta

  • Dibya Bhatta says :
    Thanks for the report!keep writing the great report!
    Green cheers
    from Nepal
    Dibya Bhatta

    Posted 23-02-2020 11:14

Rachu Khanal

  • Rachu Khanal says :
    Thanks for the report
    Posted 22-02-2020 19:20

Rajesh Chaulagain

  • Rajesh Chaulagain says :
    Great report!!
    Thanks for describing so clearly about desalination.
    Keep writing.
    Posted 22-02-2020 17:34

Kushal Naharki

  • Kushal Naharki says :
    Hello Aaditya

    I do hope that you are fine and doing great with your works.
    Thank you for your report about Environmental impacts of seawater desalination

    Green Cheers from Nepal :)
    Keep writing great reports.
    We are eager to read more reports from you.

    Kushal Naharki

    Posted 22-02-2020 13:42

Gaurav Adhikari

  • Gaurav Adhikari says :
    Hey Aaditya,

    Desalination is indeed an option to create fresh water out of saline ocean water. But the terrible side of the process is the management of brine water that threatens aquatic ecosystem when disposed back to the ocean bodies.

    Thus green and eco-friendly desalination is must and this article shed lights on this often neglected fact.

    Thank you for sharing!!

    Posted 21-02-2020 23:29

Arjun Anand

  • Arjun Anand says :
    Yes Aaditya I agree with you on the desalination. There are several countries worldwide who dont have any rivers. and surrounded by oceans. These countries have to depend on desalination for potable water. I hope technology will come up to provide eco-friendly solutions
    Arjun Anand
    Posted 21-02-2020 22:09

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