Why we can’t depend on desalination

Sometimes people ask why saving water is so important. They acknowledge that it saves money, but if you have the money to spend, why not use it as you want? After all, with the process of desalination — a process that removes salt from marine water to convert it to drinkable fresh water — we humans will be able to generate lots of drinking water for years to come.


It’s a nice thought. Desalination does have a potential role to play in the future of our water supply, but there are some problems. First of all, it’s incredibly expensive. The money it takes to desalinate water vs filter fresh water for drinking is a ratio of 13/4.

What’s more, desalination is not an ideal environmental solution. Yes, it produces fresh water…but it also produces a ton of salt! And that salt does not end up on your dinner table, but in the ecologies of lots of sensitive marine organisms. In 1999, 55,000 invertebrates and 78,000 fish were killed as a result of desalination plants.

So…keep turning off the tap and the hose. For now, we still haven’t found any magical solution to the water problem.

A desalination plant. Not the ideal solution.


One Comment to “Why we can’t depend on desalination”

  1. It’s sad how the solutions humans come up with to deal with excess consumption rarely involve responsibility and conservation.

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