Desalination plant: Towards water security

Humans cannot drink saline water. But, saline water can be made into freshwater, which everyone needs everyday. The process is called desalination, and it is being used more and more around the world to provide people with needed freshwater. Most of the United States has, or can gain access to, ample supplies of fresh water for drinking purposes. But, fresh water can be in short supply in some parts of that country (and world). And, as the population continues to grow, shortages of fresh water will occur more often, if only in certain locations. In some areas, salt water (from the ocean, for instance) is being turned into freshwater for drinking.
A promising method to desalinate seawater is the “reverse osmosis” method. Right now, the cost of desalinization has kept it from being used more often. But desalination technology is improving and costs are falling. As both the demand for fresh water and technology increase, one may expect to see more desalination plants getting established occurring round the world. Even in India, next door to Bangladeh, major cities have started depending on desalination plants. A large part of the water supply of Chennai, a major Indian city, is now supplied through a desalination plant.
Time is ripe also to start considering the establishment of desaliniation plants in Bangladesh as our rivers are experiencing leaner and more polluted flows and it is proving to be too dangerous to encourage free style lifting of underground water for the land subsidence the same appears to be causing amid the growing threat of earthquakes. Indian authorities, upstreams, have set up barrages on many points of common rivers. Even bigger Indian barrages are about to be constructed and the threat of waterlessness of Bangladesh could be round the corner. Thus, the need for water in Bangladesh will have to be met from non conventional sources to a great extent. Saudi Arabia, a big desert country, where agriculture hardly existed on a large scale, has achieved a miracle of sorts by getting the desert lands suitable for cultivation with water from desalination plants.
Sooner rather than later Bangladesh may also have to look to the ocean to get large scale supply of water after desalination. The faster works start in this direction, the better for the water security of the country even in the short term. Bangladesh should start knocking at the doors of the World Bank and other donors to line up funds for the early establishment of such desalination plants.


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