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ESCWA Water Development Report 3

Role of Desalination in Addressing Water Scarcity

image of ESCWA Water Development Report 3
There is a growing concern among the international community that a pending water crisis is threatening the entire global population, not only those living in arid to semi-arid areas. This Report, the second in the series of the United Nations World Water Development Report (WWDR), gives and overview of the water resources in the ESCWA (Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia) region based on the most recent data and information obtained from member countries. The state of water resources in the region is analyzed and assessed on the basis of data and indicators selected from available information and within the context of integrated water resources management (IWRM). The Report provides a comprehensive summary of the current situation of water resources in each member country in term of availability, accessibility and sustainability.

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Reducing the cost of desalination

Reducing the cost of desalination could greatly benefit the water-stressed countries of the ESCWA region in addition to providing those countries that are already using desalination with significant savings. Cheap and abundant desalination has been a long standing goal of science and society, and measures up to many of the greatest scientific objectives and accomplishments of humanity. While the vision of cheap desalination has not yet been achieved, the cost of desalination can be reduced in many ways. Some of these options are explored in this chapter, focusing on the supply cost of desalination. It is important to note that while these options are not intended as a silver bullet to solve completely the issue of cost, desalination has gone from being prohibitively expensive to merely costly. In the future, some of the suggestions or technologies discussed in this section could mature enough to become a reality.

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