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The brackish water desalination market is growing
The water desalination market is divided into two main categories – seawater desalination and brackish water desalination. With growing water shortages globally, roughly one quarter of all water desalination demand is for inland brackish water desalination technology.
Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) and other inland water streams with high levels of total dissolved solids can be turned into high-grade fresh water with water desalination technologies. By separating salts, heavy metals and other impurities from water, companies achieve numerous benefits:
- Fresh water desalinated from brine streams can supplement existing water supplies
- Polluted water is reclaimed and made less environmentally hazardous
- The need to transport water to water-stressed locations is reduced
- The sale of water desalination by-products, such as salt and other minerals, can create additional income and supplement the plant's operating expenses
Water desalination explained
By placing high-salinity water under immense pressure against semi-permeable membranes that are fine enough to allow water through and retain larger molecules, membrane water desalination cost-effectively separates fresh water from salt water. This water desalination method is ideal for large-scale brackish water desalination.
This water desalination process uses heat to evaporate the brackish water. A large surface area is used to condense the vapours and channel the distilled water away from the salt water. This water desalination method produces fresh water of exceptional quality.
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Brine disposal can be cost-effective
- Highly-concentrated minerals and salts - the by-products of water desalination – can be sold as raw material to various industries as building materials, raw ingredients for chemicals, fertilizers and even table salt.
- Brine concentrates coming off water desalination processes can also be diluted in low-salinity sewer systems
When to use water desalination inland
Water desalination has been used in a range of inland applications as both a permanent and seasonal solution to water shortage problems:
- Water from inner-city rivers can be desalinated during times of drought
- Industrial process water can be upgraded through water desalination
- Acid mine drainage can be turned into a fresh water resource with water desalination technologies
- Towns or settlements that experience a seasonal influx of tourists can cater for increased water demands