How Sustainable is Sustainable in Water Management – Seawater Desalination in MENA Countries

An important aspect for appropriate implementation of Sustainable Technologies is Sustainable Management. The fundamental question is How Sustainable is Sustainable? And what are the most appropriate solutions for Achieving the Best Socio-economic Sustainability? Among strategic long-term and large-scale policies for the MENA region, where arid and semi-arid conditions prevail, is Water Management because of its impacts on all involved sectors (energy, industry, agriculture and environment) in this region, life quality and bio-diversity. Unfortunately, existing literature still lack appropriate long-term and large-scale sustainability solutions as being based on “Business as Usual” without consideration to other possible and yet feasible alternatives.

Seawater desalination constitutes an important source for water supply for all sector activities and the population in the bordering the Arabian Gulf, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Red Sea. Desalination has advantages and disadvantages that may depend on the region, location, technology, impact and amount of fresh water production. Apart from the energy requirements for desalination, there are also other negative impacts in terms of waste management, fish production and quality of marine life in general. However, these impacts can be mitigated or even eliminated, by solutions other than those currently available.

Desalination poredictions in MENA region

4 thoughts on “How Sustainable is Sustainable in Water Management – Seawater Desalination in MENA Countries

  1. Safwan Elfar

    Normally our mother earth is maintaining the salinity level of the sea water by adding deionized water in the form of rain but as shown in this precious study; the recovery process rate is not eliminating the negative impact of “sea water desalination”

    The recovery process of salinity level of the sea would be accelerated if the condensed water from air conditioning is utilized ;( water is by-product of cooling process especially in GCC countries) by gather it into separate drainage line and directed to the Gulf.
    I have made a random measurement for the quantity of water and found out that the split types is generating more water than windows types
    The quantity is varying from 20 to 80 ml/min the average is 50 ml/min depending in the air relative humidity.
    If there is 1000 house in a city near the coast, and there is 2 split A/C in each house so the water generated per day =
    (1000x2x50x60x24)/1000000 = 144 M3/day (144×275 days =39600 M3/year)

    There is at least 10 million split A/C in GCC country; (39600/2000) x10000000 = 198 million M3/Year
    This huge amount of pure water for sure will help to maintain the salinity level of sea water!

    1. farideldaoushy Post author

      Safwan, I see you that you want to make use of this water something like rain harvesting. But in this case you have a technical difficulty to gather all this water, i.e. from 10 million split A/C in GCC country, into separate drainage line and directed to the Gulf. First, the system has to be closed, isolated and problem free so as all the collected water get to the Gulf (to remove/minimize losses from evaporation); second, the system has to continuously cleaned to prevent the growth and accumulation of algae which is quite common in the Gulf region; third, this will also need some additional economic resources for drift and control as well as the costs associated with first and second arguments. But what could be visible is to use small harvesting systems to transfer the huge humidity in air, i.e. through condensation, to water for irrigation. This is used in some countries where huge vertical atmospheric grids/surfaces are used to capture, condense and collect atmospheric moisture.

  2. Safwan Elfar

    Dear Dr. Farid, I do totally agree with these technical issues, yes it is difficult but not impossible by:
    1- Connect all the AC drainage to one network in the building
    2- Laying 2 inch diameter pipe (with Anti-Microbial layer) in the main drainage pipe to utilize existing drainage network
    The feasibility in this case that same electricity for cooling is generating water!
    At least the condensed water can be utilized in the same building for irrigation, water flush system,…

    1. farideldaoushy Post author

      In this case, i.e. small-scale applications, then I agree but my point was large-scale application for solving the increasing salinity in the Gulf, that is technically very costly and by any means not a long-term sustainable solution.


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