is a process that removes salt from water. While a swallow or two
of salty water while swimming in the ocean or Gulf isn't bad, humans
cannot survive on salt water. Salt water makes a person more thirsty
and eventually would make you suffer from dehydration.
can create additional sources for public water supply and help areas
where the groundwater aquifers are having trouble supplying all
the water that is needed. Even with seawater desalination we still
need to conserve water. Desalination can only meet a small percentage
of our water needs.
The most common
process of desalination involves using high pressure to force salty
water through a semi-permeable membrane. A membrane is made from
material that allows liquid, but not solids (like salt) to pass
throught it. After the water has passed through the membrane, what
is left is purified water and a concentrated byproduct (salt). This
process is called reverse osmosis. Although there are other ways
to desalinate, reverse osmosis is the most common. Florida is building
the first large-scale (25 million gallons per day) seawater desalination
plant in the U.S. This plant is scheduled to be in operation by
the end of 2002.
to desalination have been the high cost of the energy needed to
operate the plants and the safe disposal of the plant's highly concentrated
salt byproduct. Researchers are finding new ways to desalinate water
with less energy and ways to dilute the concentrated salt so it
can be safely returned to the body of water it came from and not
harm marine life.
is one process that will help create an additional source of public
water supply and help keep the groundwater aquifers from being drained
dry. Using reclaimed water (water which has received at least 2
treatments in a wastewater treatment plant) to water lawns and landscapes,
to cool power plants and to recharge groundwater supplies will also
help conserve our natural water supply. Although it is often clean
enough to drink, reclaimed water is kept out of the public water