The Role of Desalination in the New Water ParadigmThe lack of potable drinking water is becoming a major challenge for humanity and set to become worse as the population grows and climate change wreaks havoc across the globe. This has led to virtually every country searching for sustainable methods of providing fresh water for its citizens, including the use of desalination.

There are currently in excess of 300 million people in 150 countries around the world relying on desalinated water for some or all their of their daily water needs. This means that around 86.8 million cubic meters of desalinated water is produced every day across the 18,426 desalination plants as of June 2015, per information gathered by the International Desalination Association.

With around 40% of the global population residing within 100 km of coastal areas, desalination of seawater or brackish groundwater has become a popular alternative resource for long-term sustainability of large urban areas. Desalination currently provides a mere 1% of global drinking water, but the market is growing by approximately 10% annually.

The desalination market is also diversifying as demand from the mining and the industrial sectors grow, and the agricultural and the irrigation sectors needs increase.

SUEZ, one of IWA’s corporate members, is also a sustainability champion that has desalination at its heart. SUEZ has also positioned and committed itself to the preservation of resource and circular economy and has been a pioneer in the desalination sector through its degremont® expertise, 45 years’ experience and more than 250 desalination plants across the globe. The Group produces 1,200,000 m3 of desalinated water per day.

SUEZ is spread across 5 continents and currently supplies 92 million people with drinking water, and 65 million with sanitation services; recovers over 14 million tons of waste as secondary raw materials and energy and provides around 52 million people with waste collection services.

This shows that in order to promote a more efficient use of our resources, we need to create new alternatives for water resources, optimise our processes, and transform today’s waste into tomorrow’s resources.

Continuous improvements in technology are gradually making desalination an affordable solution for more and more countries. Water production costs have reduced by 50% and production capacity has doubled in the past 10 years, and it is projected that this trend will continue, making reverse osmosis the hope for our future.

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