Can desalination solve the water crisis in India?
India has a vast extent of rivers and receives heavy amount of precipitation in form of rain around 4,000 cubic kilometresin a year. Despite the fact, India is experiencing water drought in a number of states and union territories because of fresh water pollution, water that is unfit of drinking etc. Seawater desalination in India has sparked interest in this technology as this could end the situation that India is encountering from past few decades, since saline seawater comprises of over 97% of the earth’s surface water and has huge extent in west side of India.
WHAT IS DESALINATION?
Desalination: The removal of salts and other minerals from seawater and filtering the dirt. Two general methods are employed for desalination.
- Thermal process: It is also called as ‘seawater distillation’, which involves heating seawater so that freshwater can vaporize, get condensed, and then collected.
- Reverse Osmosis: This is an advance technology where in the membranes are used to filter out the dissolved salts. It must be also noted that a negative suction pressure employs in this process (pressure is applied through an electricity-driven process that forces the separation of salt molecules).
CAN SEAWATER DESALINATION BE THE ANSWER TO INDIA’S WATER SUPPLY ISSUES?
The process has been widely used in countries likeMiddle East, the Mediterranean, the Caribbean Islands, South Africa, and Australia as they have sufficient economy to support the process (high energy and capital consumption).We all know that the middle eastern area have higher fossil fuel production which makes the desalination cost even lower than what we are expecting here in India.
In India, desalination makes sense to end the scarcity of water around the coastal areas only.
There are ample numbers of factors that must be kept in the mind:
- Geography of area.
- Total Dissolved Solids.
- Feed characteristics
- Elevation of plant etc.
The desalination process makes sense to end India’s water problems only because India has suffice renewable energy resources, if utilised properly can bring down the cost per litre of desalination process rapidly.
India has designed its largest desalination plant in Chennai. Another desalination plant in Chennai supplies fresh water at the same rate. Considering this one must think that India can end its water problems with help of desalination but as we all know what seems appealing at first can be appalling as well. There have been certain complaints against the plants for causing the coastal erosion. It has been also noticed that it has damaged the aquatic ecosystem to certain level. The population around Chennai’s desalination plant have noticed dead prawns around sea shores.
Seawater desalination is offering solution to water shortage in India. However, before looking for an alternative like desalination we should focus on reducing water consumption, improving water use efficiency, prevention of water pollution, implementation of administrative controls, and empowering people to conserve natural resources and if by the end of certain programmes water scarcity is still adequate which according to my perception won’t be, we should employ technologies like desalination.