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More Desalination and Water Treatment Plants are Crucial for Survival

While world leaders are meeting to pledge ways in which they intend to limit global warming, many countries are already experiencing the effects of climate change. These include bush fires, droughts, rapidly melting glaciers, and shrinking coastlines. In the meantime, unconstrained consumption and wholesale pollution are already threatening H20 reserves worldwide. The need for increased investment in desalination and other treatment plants is escalating.

Ironically, although 71% of our planet’s surface is water, all but a mere 3% of that liquid is contained in its oceans and is thus undrinkable. Of that tiny potable portion, a large percentage is tied up in those glaciers and polar snow. So, how should we respond to these alarming statistics? Firstly, all consumers will need to be more conservative in their use of this vital resource. More importantly, utility companies will need to extend their existing desalination and treatment facilities to compensate for the ongoing decline in potable reserves.

However, this initiative is not only for suppliers. It needs to be shared by all consumers. It is not mining companies and other heavy industries that utilise and contaminate most of the world’s potable supply. The general public and the farmers on whom we all depend for our food are the main culprits. Factories that discharge wastewater into the environment must first treat it to render it safe. However, many of these could reuse it and save money also.

Use Technological Solutions

It is generally the task of utility companies to operate desalination and large-scale water treatment plants. However, there are also ways in which agricultural and even domestic consumers can help to minimise the continuing risk of supply shortages. Technology enabling farmers to reuse wastewater contaminated by animal waste is widely available. A borehole could be far more than a cheap way to irrigate lawns or top-up swimming pools for the city dwellers. An underground aquifer could supply water suitable for drinking and most other domestic uses by adding a compact purification plant. It could also slash bills and aid the drive for conservation.

While desalination and water treatment plants are equally essential, the former holds the better prospect of averting future crises. Early evaporative methods to separate the salts required large amounts of energy and were more expensive than conventional treatments. Today, new membrane technology requires far less energy and promises to overcome this disparity. Nevertheless, the future of the precious resource is in our hands.

Why not begin by checking out the world-class products for desalination and treatment from WaterIcon – an established South African industry leader.