News from the CEPA e-mail list
Desalination plants - a good option for a water-thirsty world? (20/07/07)
Good morning everyone:
Prepared by a consultant for WWFs Freshwater programme and published last month, Desalination: option or distraction for a thirsty world? is a must for your bookshelf if you need the facts and figures on the issue of desalination as a technique for supplying freshwater. The publication looks broadly at the benefits as well as the actual and potential problems as more countries, both developed and developing, begin to look seriously at desalination as an option for boosting freshwater supplies.
WWF contends that governments and the industry itself may be glossing over considerable environmental, economic and social difficulties. While technology improvements are reducing the costs, desalinated water remains expensive and is thus a solution for the wealthy not the poor. In addition, the knowledge gained so far on the impacts of desalination plants is based largely on a limited amount of experiences from relatively small plants and is not necessarily helpful for considering the broader impacts of a large-scale desalination industry.
The WWF report gives helpful information on some of the direct problems which include the significant cost of desalinated water, the pollution emitted by desalination plants, the energy they consume and their greenhouse gas emissions, the impact on the local marine ecosystem from the removal of larvae and other small organisms with the seawater, and the limited knowledge of the impacts of the concentrated brines and diverse other chemicals issuing from the outlet pipe.
The report concludes The considered view of WWF is that seawater desalination has a limited place in water supply, which needs to be considered on a case by case basis in line with integrated approaches to the management of water supply and demand. Central to such an approach is the protection of the natural assets of catchments, rivers, floodplains, lakes, . . .aquifers and vapour flows which ultimately provide, store, supply, and purify water and provide the best and most comprehensive protection against extreme or catastrophic events. And we at Ramsar certainly support their view on the need to protect our wetland assets as a first step in dealing with a limited water supply!
So, worth a read you can download it here http://assets.panda.org/downloads/desalinationreportjune2007.pdf (5MB).
Best weekend wishes, Sandra Hails, Ramsar Secretariat
Sandra Hails, CEPA Programme Officer
Ramsar Convention Secretariat
Rue Mauverney 28, CH-1196 Gland, Switzerland
Tel: +41 22 999 0176; Fax: +41 22 999 0169
Web Site: http://ramsar.org
CEPA mini-Web site: http://ramsar.org/outreach_index.htm
Dear Sandra Hails,
Desalinated water is NOT expensive..., But a suited option for Wetlands with Acute Water Scarcity
Please recollect my meeting with you, as a participant in the "ToT on Wetland Management" held at Wageningen during May 2006.
In response to your email this afternoon, I wish to state about our experimentation with Desalination in Wetlands and Coastal areas.
Desalination is not that costly, its really cheap, environmentally friendly and very much sustainable if solar desalination is adopted in a decentralized manner.
Water quality is a major issue in most tropical humid, arid and semi arid regions, including wetlands. However, sunlight is much abundant in these areas and why dont we harness the potential of Solar Energy to address water quality crisis?
We have evolved a Solar Distillation unit capable of producing fresh water from any contaminated water with even high dissolved solids, without using any photovoltaic cells, fabricated locally and unbelievably at a very low capital, with no operational costs. This concept was awarded by the World Bank -Development Marketplace 2004 event.
PLANET Kerala is now offering this technology facilitation to NGOs, Donors, Universities, Foundations and other Research centers involved in addressing water issues in various locations. A tailor made technology transfer program is underway in accordance with the local water and geographical factors. This total package will also involve necessary skill development for piloting and then replicating solar stills locally. Partner center can thus gain this appropriate technology for addressing most water issues prevailing in respective operational areas. View further details by clicking at http://www.planetkerala.org/downloads/SolarDistillation.pdf
Please forward this email to your colleagues who might be interested. We will be happy to assist you in gaining access to this next generation renewable energy based water technology.
Participatory Learning and Action Network (PLANET Kerala)
St. Marys Buildings, II floor
Trivandrum 695 004
One of the possibilities communities have is to collest, store and use rainwater. In villages and small towns this could be efficient and, probably, not expensive.
Does anybody have information about this?
Projects, planes, drawings or whatever are wellcomed.
On the island of Bermuda (and also in the US Virgin Islands), planning Iaws require that a high proportion of the rook of every house collects water. At least 80% I think.
David A. Stroud
UK Joint Nature Conservation Committee
Monkstone House, City Road
Peterborough PE1 1JY
Similar assistance for the Pacific Island communities for rainwater collection & storage (via water tanks) has been funded through bilateral and regional assistance from the EU, Japan, Australia, Canada etc...
Vainuupo JUNGBLUT (Mr.)
Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP)
PO Box 240
In Malaysia especially in coastal areas, villagers have been collecting water in whatever container since time immemorial. Some are more fortunate now as they are connected to potable water supply by the municipal council. The villagers upstream including those along river banks are also turning to this method , mainly for cooking and drinking as their rivers are much muddy due to logging and intensive and extensive land development in the watershed.
Alex Sayok (email@example.com)