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What’s the issue with water desalination for drinking?

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According to science and various government agencies, desalination of water is the ultimate solution to the water crisis taking place in the world. The expenses that come along with desalination of water can be outrageous and expenditure of a large amount of energy will take place. Desalination of water can also result in damaging the environmental aspects and this solution is only fairly possible in coastal areas.

How is the desalination of water carried out?

In this process, marine water undergoes various treatments to separate the dissolved salts and minerals from it. The desalination process is carried out in two different methods –membrane filtration and thermal distillation. In thermal distillation, that is a method based on thousands of years old techniques, in which the saline water is boiled to produce steam. These purified vapours of water are collected in a container and made to condense back into water, and; in membrane filtration, the process of reverse osmosis is taken into use. In which, water is pushed through a series of microscopic filters, fitted in a large cylinder. The salt particles and dissolved impurities get segregated from water in this intensive energy-requiring process.

After the purification processes are completed a concentrated waste product of salts and other dissolved impurities are left. This concentrated compost is then disposed of back into the deep wells dug in the ocean bed.  

Why is the desalination of water practically impossible?

The desalination of the salty water is an expensive solution as compared to other alternatives for getting purified water. The costs include planning and management and disposal of the waste product which definitely will affect the budget.

Another reason is the desalination process demands a lot of energy production. According to research done, in the production of a million gallons of fresh water the energy expended is about 15000 kilowatt. Not only the production of energy is an issue but their emission raises environmental concerns too.

By desalinating the sea water, we will also affect the marine habitat by killing aquatic plants, small ocean creatures resulting in a disrupted food chain, which will ultimately affect the entire ecosystem.

Therefore, it is suggested to set up conservation and recycling programs of the water resources, which will be likely less expensive and will not harm the environment too. It can be too risky to consume this desalinated water as in the purification process along with the removal of salt and impurities it may lose all the essential minerals required for our body.  

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