Water, water, every where?

Water, water, every where?

David Sear - 10 November 2016

With demand for fresh water rising in many parts of the world, desalination could be an increasing part of the solution, writes David Sear. Photo courtesy of © Yykkaa | Dreamstime Stock Photos

About the author

Mr David Sear
David Sear is Online Editor. He is contributing to articles, interviews and reports to KCI’s magazines and websites. David also works on videos for KCI Television.
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It goes without saying that the people of the Netherlands know a thing or two when it comes to managing water. When over two thousand years ago early settlers were attracted to the fertile peat swamps next to the North Sea, they built their dwellings on artificial islands as protection against the floods.

And certainly by the tenth century AD extensive dykes were being built systematically to enclose off large areas of land for farming. Much of this work was led by the monasteries, who had the resources to undertake such large and complex tasks.

Fast forward to today and major projects have been completed such as the Delta Works, which includes massive locks that can seal off river mouths to stop high seas from flooding the land.

In short, when it comes to water the history of the Netherlands is dominated by the need to contain an excess of salt water.

In many other parts of the world, however, the water struggle is more one of ensuring there is enough fresh water to go around.

For example, a recent report by Mr Karan Chechi (Research Director at TechSci Research), considers the imbalance between the availability of fresh water and the growing requirements of the population. He notes that: “India constitutes 4% of the global fresh water. However, that fresh water is supporting 16% of the world’s population and 15% of the world’s livestock. And overall water consumption is growing at around 18% annually on account of increasing fresh water demand for domestic as well as industrial purposes.”

Given the rising gap between water demand and supply, it is hardly surprising to learn that the government of India is focusing on water reuse and recycling as well as alternative water resources.

Desalination could be an important part of the country’s water efforts, maintains Mr Chechi. Moreover, he sees a possible change in the type of desalination process being applied.

“A shift from conventional thermal desalination technology to one that utilizes renewable energy resources such as solar and wind for treating sea/brackish water is on the rise. This is expected to result in rising prevalence of solar/wind based desalination plants in the country in the coming years.”

Whilst his report makes no mention of the valve or actuator needs of such desalination plans, the potential growth figures as indicated by Mr Chechi could make this a market to watch.

If you are interested in learning more about desalination then you should definitely read a recent article by my colleague James Chater, who starts off his report with a challenging introduction.

“In the last few years the world has been increasingly relying on desalination for its drinking and industrial water. The stick is the danger that any already critical water shortage caused by drought and global warming will get worse. The carrot is the provision of more water in parched areas thanks to significant progress towards making desalination more cost-effective and environmentally friendly.”

He then goes on to look at various projects currently underway, the market conditions, recent innovations and some of the considerations for valves and actuators used in this sector.

Of course we at Valve World are keen to learn more about how various regions are providing fresh water to their citizens.

Just recently for example I had the pleasure of speaking to a valve expert working for NWWC, the National Water Works Company in Saudi Arabia.

Time permitting, I’ll provide a follow-up later on about what he had to say regarding the types of valves being used in NWWC’s projects.

And of course if you are involved in the water sector, then I’d be pleased to hear your thoughts and insights too.

PS: The title is of course adapted from “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” a major work by the English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

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