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Problems with Desalination: Our Nation’s Crisis

Desalination has been around for three centuries and is, in essence, a way to make briny water drinkable. Will it help combat climate change? And most of all, will it help ease the drought?

Desalination has been around for 3 centuries and is, in essence, a way to make briny water drinkable. Will it help combat climate change? And most of all will it help ease the drought?

Desalination, which if not thought over carefully, can have catastrophic effects on the environment. The briny by product of desalination is often dumped into the ocean and sinking to the bottom as a salty plume. As a result, the salt chokes all life that swims near it as the plume is often oxygen deficient and the next batch of saline water is saltier requiring more energy to process.

On the other hand, desalination is used around the world to supply extra water and the brine is often carefully replaced into the sea so that it will not affect the marine life detrimentally.

But seeing as the world thinks that desalination is just a quick fix to droughts, it isn’t managed very well. The aforementioned brine is usually just dumped into the ocean and long term planning of desalination plants is often overlooked.

If the world keeps thinking like this, desalination might add to the problems instead of stalling them. Marine life would die, hurting fisheries and while it might reduce the carbon emissions by a fraction, we would be losing a unique part of life. Global hunger would be induced and as a result the ecosystem would fail and die.

Currently desalination is thought of as a quick fix by the world’s politicians but if side effects occur in the future, especially ones that are not seen, what would happen then?

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  1. Toan Daxland, Oct 14, 2007

    On July 17, 2008 at 8:34 pm


    Desalination has been around for three centuries and is, in essence, a way to make briny water drinkable. Will it help combat climate change? And most of all, will it help ease the drought?

    Desalination has been around for 3 centuries and is, in essence, a way to make briny water drinkable. Will it help combat climate change? And most of all will it help ease the drought?

    Desalination, which if not thought over carefully, can have catastrophic effects on the environment. The briny by product of desalination is often dumped into the ocean and sinking to the bottom as a salty plume. As a result, the salt chokes all life that swims near it as the plume is often oxygen deficient and the next batch of saline water is saltier requiring more energy to process.

    On the other hand, desalination is used around the world to supply extra water and the brine is often carefully replaced into the sea so that it will not affect the marine life detrimentally.

    But seeing as the world thinks that desalination is just a quick fix to droughts, it isn’t managed very well. The aforementioned brine is usually just dumped into the ocean and long term planning of desalination plants is often overlooked.

    If the world keeps thinking like this, desalination might add to the problems instead of stalling them. Marine life would die, hurting fisheries and while it might reduce the carbon emissions by a fraction, we would be losing a unique part of life. Global hunger would be induced and as a result the ecosystem would fail and die.

    Currently desalination is thought of as a quick fix by the world’s politicians but if side effects occur in the future, especially ones that are not seen, what would happen then?

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