Are we too clever for our own good?
We continue the themes developed and related to water management, population growth and the consumption of resources at an unlimited rate.
Water management & desalination – benefits versus the impacts
Desalination of water in our modern world is crucial for supplementing those areas which experience unreliable water cycles or are insufficient for supporting consistent primary food production. As an example, recent droughts in the Yangtze basin threaten the viability of the South-North Water Transfer project discussed in an earlier article.
In 2011 there were approximately 14,500 desalination plants operating globally with the highest concentration of plants being located in the Middle East. And over the next decade the demand for desalination plants is expected to triple.
Unlike recycling & storm water harvesting which rely on the existing water cycle, desalination provides an independent source of potable water. However, challenges with desalination technologies such as expensive capital costs, high energy demand and corresponding carbon outputs can limit applications.
Combining many of these technologies may provide us with a solution to a wide range of problems, bringing about short to medium term stability in water management and consumption while also hopefully averting man-made disasters such as the Great 1959 Famine in China.
However, will we take the initiative and use that ‘breathing space’ to focus on the ‘root cause’ of our problems; excessive population growth?
We include some articles for your interest:
Science Direct – Impacts and Assessment of Seawater Desalination
Science Direct – Cost Benefit Analysis of Desalination