Desalination plants should follow five-point plan and keep an eye on climate change coastal consequences, says WWF
As a very energy intensive process whose product was once famously labelled “bottled electricity”, desalination needed to be powered in such a way that it did not become a significant major new contributer to increasing emissions and climate change risk, according to the WWF’s Phil Dickie
Some golden rules:. Accordingly, plant promoters and approval agencies needed to ensure that:
• plants used the most energy efficient technologies;
• plants were developed in stages to take advantage of improving energy efficiency;
• plants needed to be sited with due regard to protecting sensitive areas;
• plants were sited to minimise the energy required to pump water to consumers; and
• plants were powered through renewable energy, purchased green energy or used “Gold Standard” offsets for all their emissions.
Coastal desalination plants particularly needed to consider the implications of climate change, which was predicted to lead to sea level rises, more severe extreme coastal weather events and increased risks of saline intrusion into coastal aquifers.
Reference: Phil Dickie, WWF for a living planet, ‘Making Water – Desalination option or distraction for a thirsty world?’, June 2007.
Erisk Net, 23/9/2007