An Overview of the Global Desalination Situation

Separations Division
AIChE Annual Meeting
October 29, 2012 - 10:30am-11:00am
According to the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), one in three people globally endures some form of water scarcity, one-quarter of the world's population lives in areas where water is physically scarce, and over a billion people live where water is economically scarce. Existing water supplies may be limited in quantity or quality for meeting the increasing demands from population growth and industry expansion. In many arid and semi-arid areas, providing the large volume of water required for industrial, agricultural, recreational and potable applications is especially difficult. The United Nations declared 2005-2015 the “Water for Life” Decade because water is crucial for sustainable development. The goals of the “Water for Life” Decade are to reduce by half the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water, to stop unsustainable exploitation of water resources, to aim to develop integrated water resource management and water efficiency plans, and to halve the proportion of people who do not have access to basic sanitation.

Membrane processes are now a proven and reliable method of providing high-quality, cost-effective water. Membrane technologies have immediate applications to treatment of fresh, brackish and seawaters, as well as wastewater reclamation.  With innovative module design and engineering, micro- and ultra-filtrations have become effective and economical for drinking water production, particularly for removal of microorganisms.  Desalination is becoming more and more a commodity to satisfy the growing demand for water.

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