By Riamy Beuscher, communications intern
A 40 percent increase in demand for safe drinking water is expected by 2025, according to the United Nations. The problem is that only 0.5 percent of the earth’s water is suitable for human consumption. Could desalination be the solution?
Desalination is a process that removes minerals from saline water. Advocates promote the technology’s ability to avoid diversion of fresh water supplies from rivers and streams.
San Diego County has faced an ongoing drought for years. A new desalination plant now allows the area to provide 50 million gallons of fresh drinking water every day.
“The water from the Carlsbad plant is truly the only drought-proof supply available to San Diego, it is not dependent on local rainfall or snowpack in the Sierras,” Graham Beatty, Poseidon Water Director, project management and finance told the Environmental Leader.
Desalination opponents have voiced concerns about the use of fossil fuels and potential harm to marine life during the process. Nuclear energy has been suggested as an alternative to fossil fuels. In Japan and Kazakhstan, where commercial facilities have been operating since the 1970s, nuclear energy and desalination plants have proven to be an effective solution to providing safe water.
The Sandia National Laboratory has created a plan to use desalination to increase the nation’s drinking water supply. The goal is to use desalination and water purification technologies to ensure safe, sustainable, affordable and adequate water supply for the United States.