We received some feedback from our last blog about the dwindling supply of fresh drinkable water on the planet. Since 71% of the world is covered with water, and almost 97% of it is salt water, why can’t we just use the water from oceans and seas to create a seemingly unlimited supply of water?
Some of our coastal states (Florida, Texas, and California) and a number of countries (Australia, Algeria, Oman, and Saudi Arabia) already supplement their freshwater supplies with desalination plants. Israel gets half of its supply that way. So why isn’t this solution more widespread? The obvious reason is cost. It’s a very expensive process.
A brand new desalination plant is being built in Carlsbad, CA, just north of San Diego, and San Diego water authorities say the cost is double what it would cost to import the water in. Their hope is that within 15 to 20 years, the cost of desalinated water will be equal or less than imported water.
They may have no choice anyway. If the drought continues, California will not have enough water to sustain its residents. And they aren’t alone. Two-thirds of the world’s population will suffer water shortages by 2025 says the UN, and that’s only 11 years from now. The demand for water is outstripping the supply.
There are now over 16,000 desalination plants in the world, triple what was available in 2000. New technology is making this process economically feasible, as we have seen it do in many other fields of endeavor. Now if we can only figure out a way to make our smart phones turn water into wine. That would be really something, wouldn’t it?