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Thursday, 24 May 2012

The desalination dilemma

According to an article by EurActiv, countries like Spain have become trendsetters in Europe in the harnessing seawater for human use. Desalination offers some promise for farmers and households that compete for freshwater, is economically vital and an answer to long-term water security concerns. In Europe, which accounts for 10% of the world’s desalination capacity, this means may be one answer to water needs.
Yet, desalination raises environmental concerns, as making seawater drinkable is an expensive and energy-intensive process, depending on the salt levels in the water. In this regard, environmental groups have for years raised concerns over the expansion of desalination plants and their potential harm to coastal habitats and generation of far higher levels of greenhouse gases than conventional water plants.
Responding to this criticism,   the desalination industry says it is working to reduce its environmental impact and underlines that EU policymakers are doing little to promote a technology that could help address growing water scarcity, as the European Innovation Partnership on Water, which was recently announced, does not list desalination amongst its proposals to address future needs.

Source: EurActiv