Have you ever heard the term “Desalination” before? This is becoming a hot topic (pun intended) for populations and their growing drinking water needs. In a nutshell, Desalination means taking the salt and unwanted minerals and materials out of either sea water or other water. This process requires heavy machinery and infrastructure as well as a great deal of energy. But making drinkable or “potable” water is extremely important because many rivers and wells for getting fresh water have either been exhausted or have become polluted. Desalination is a also a way for countries that have access to ocean water but are basically deserts to get drinking water. There are several methods for desalination but the basic process is that water is heated up and the steam is collected. The collected steam condenses and then becomes drinking water. The primary way that desalination occurs today is a method called Multi-Stage Flash Distillation CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE. Desalination is often combined with power generation. This means that the excess energy produced by a power plant would be used to give energy to a nearby desalination plant. This process is called Cogeneration.
Desalination is a technology that needs to be worked on and advanced if we are going to satisfy growing water consumption needs in California and Worldwide. I predict that water usage and disputes over water rights will become a major point of contention in regions like eastern Asia and Asia Minor. Wars in the near future probably won’t be fought over oil or land rights, but rather for water. Desalination technology could be used to diffuse tensions and quench the thirst of growing countries, like China. The reason why more focus needs to be put on desalination is because the main byproduct of desalination, SALT, is extremely toxic if not dealt with properly. Changing the salt content of regions of the ocean can cause fish to die. So more effort needs to be put into perfecting desalination technology if we want it to be a solution for our water needs.
Desalination technology can be extremely profitable. Right now California is working on a large desalination plant near San Diego. The drinkable water produced by this plant will be able to be sold to other communities. Since water resources are going to become more scarce as populations grow, especially in California, then it would make sense that the price of water will rise. So investing in desalination plants may be a good idea. I definitely would rather live in a community that was able to generate its water supply, rather than relying on some other community for my water.