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Seawater desalination leads response to global water crisis

United Arab Emirates: Monday, November 09 - 2009 @ 11:50

The numbers were released today at a briefing on the State of Desalination held by the International Desalination Association (IDA) and Global Water Intelligence (GWI) at the IDA World Congress on Desalination and Water Reuse.

The total capacity of plants now online is 59.9m m3/d, a 6.6m m3/d increase on last year. This represents the largest amount of desalination capacity brought on line in a single year. Seven hundred new plants were commissioned around the world during the year, including the largest in the world: the 880,000m3/d Shoaiba 3 project in. There are now 14,451 desalination plants on-line. A further 244 plants with a capacity of 9.1m m3/d are known to be under contract or in construction.

The greatest increase has come from seawater desalination. Since the Iast IDA World Congress in November 2007, the installed capacity of seawater desalination plants has expanded by 29.6% to 35.9m m3/d. To date in 2009, 4.6m cubic meters per day of seawater desalination capacity was added, and demand for seawater desalination is forecast to grow dramatically.

“We project that by 2014, we will be adding more than the equivalent of a new River Thames each year to the world’s renewable freshwater resources. By 2020, the seawater desalination industry will be adding twice that amount. We are creating rivers that flows backwards from the sea,”

said Christopher Gasson, publisher of GWI and DesalDat.

This growth is taking place not only in the Middle East , but also in other countries. The Inventory shows that there has been an explosion of demand in the GCC region due to population growth and high oil prices, as well as major expansion of desalination in. In addition, new markets are opening in.

According to Lisa Henthorne, president of IDA, the world’s largest desalination plants, both online and in the planning stages, are those seawater facilities located in the Middle East region. The largest production from an individual desalination installation is the Shoaiba 3 project on the west coast of , producing 880,000 cubic meters per day. Seven other commissioned or contracted plants have capacities in excess of 400,000 cubic meters per day. In addition, Ras Azzour, on the east coast of, has a planned capacity of 1m cubic meters per day.

“We tend to build these desalination plants in phases, adding onto facilities as demand grows. The Jebel Ali complex in Dubai is a good example, where an additional 600,000 cubic meters per day of capacity was recently contracted,” she noted.

“Seawater desalination represents a $10bn industry today. We forecast that it will by a $16bn industry in 2020,” Gasson added.

According to Henthorne, while the global economic downturn caused the rate of growth in desalination plants to slow somewhat in 2008-2009, population and economic growth, pollution of existing water resources, and climate change continue to drive the need for new and reliable sources of water.

“Desalination is one of the answers. It continues to be an increasingly important part of global water solutions for the 21st century and for a better world,” she said.

The World Congress, the premier global event for the desalination industry, continues through November 12 in Dubai at the Atlantis – The Palm Jumeirah. Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the 2009 IDA World Congress is being hosted by TechnoPark and supported by Economic Zones World.

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Monday, November 9- 2009 @ 11:50 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.

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