New solutions to the ancient problem of maintaining a fresh water supply is discussed in a special issue of the Inderscience publication International Journal of Nuclear Desalination. With predictions that more than 3.5 billion people will live in areas facing severe water shortages by the year 2025, the challenge is to find an environmentally benign way to remove salt from seawater.
Global climate change, desertification, and over-population are already taking their toll on fresh water supplies. In coming years, fresh water could become a rare and expensive commodity. In the latest issue of the journal IJND, research results presented at the Trombay Symposium on Desalination and Water Reuse offer a new perspective on desalination and describe alternatives to the current expensive and inefficient methods.
Pradip Tewari of the Desalination Division at Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, in Mumbai, India, discusses the increasing demand for water in India driven not only by growing population and expectancies rapid agricultural and industrial expansion. He suggests that a holistic approach is needed to cope with freshwater needs, which include primarily seawater desalination in coastal areas and brackish water desalination as well as rainwater harvesting, particularly during the monsoon season. "The contribution of seawater and brackish water desalination would play an important role in augmenting the freshwater needs of the country."
Meenakshi Jain of CDM & Environmental Services and Positive Climate Care Pvt Ltd in Jaipur highlights the energy problem facing regions with little fresh water. "Desalination is an energy-intensive process. Over the long term, desalination with fossil energy sources would not be compatible with sustainable development; fossil fuel reserves are finite and must be conserved for other essential uses, whereas demands for desalted water would continue to increase."
Jain emphasizes that a sustainable, non-po
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