The state of desalination and brine production: A global outlook

Rising water demands and diminishing water supplies are exacerbating water scarcity in most world regions

Edward Jones; Manzoor Qadir; Michelle T.H. van Vliet; Vladimir Smakhtin; Seong-mu Kang

2018

Scholarcy highlights

  • Rising water demands and diminishing water supplies are exacerbating water scarcity in most world regions
  • Brine production is 141.5 million m3/day, 50% greater than previous estimates
  • Conventional approaches relying on rainfall and river runoff in water scarce areas are no longer sufficient to meet human demands
  • Our synthesis of desalination data suggests that there are 15,906 operational desalination plants producing around 95 million m3/day of desalinated water for human use, of which 48% is produced in the Middle East and North Africa region
  • A major challenge associated with desalination technologies is the production of a typically hypersaline concentrate discharge that requires disposal, which is both costly and associated with negative environmental impacts
  • Our estimates reveal brine production to be around 142 million m3/day, approximately 50% greater than previous quantifications
  • Improved brine management strategies are required to limit the negative environmental impacts and reduce the economic cost of disposal, thereby stimulating further developments in desalination facilities to safeguard water supplies for current and future generations

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