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Enhanced water resource base for sustainable integrated water resource management

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The article states the case for greatly enhanced reliance on desalination in the provision of freshwater. It argues that the concept of integrated water resource management (IWRM), should be expanded to routinely include desalination, and that sea water and brackish water should be listed among available sources of freshwater.

In recent years, the price per m3 of freshwater obtained from desalination has steadily declined, and is now within competitive range of conventional sources, especially as extracting water from surface sources (rivers, lakes) is becoming increasingly expensive as well as ecologically harmful, and groundwater in many locations is saline or depleted. With the expectation that by 2020, five billion people will reside in megacities, today's conventional water resources are likely to become insufficient. As many of these megacities are located near ocean coasts, sea water seems a logical solution.

Keywords: Desalination; Integrated water resource management; Non-conventional water resources; Re-use

Document Type: Commentary


Publication date: May 1, 2004


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