The earth’s water resources are said to be 97.5% seawater and with only 2.5% fresh water that can be used for farming and drinking, 99% of that fresh water is contained in ice in places like the Antarctic. There is very little fresh water available for direct use.IM Power recognises that developed countries are able to enjoy these finite water resources, while other countries have severe long-term shortages. This regional imbalance will be a major problem as future water shortages are also anticipated with climate change, increases in world population and economic growth in the developing countries.
The World Health Organization predicts by 2025 the changing climate will leave 50% of the world’s population experiencing shortages of fresh water.
Countries in the Middle East have some of the lowest water availability levels on a per-capita basis in the world. Economic and population growth in the region are set to increase demand for water over the coming decades, a period during which rising temperatures in the region could impose further constraints on water supply. The share of water desalination in the Middle East is predicted to reach almost 15% of the region’s total energy consumption by 2040. Desalinated water will then make up a quarter of the region’s total water supply.
Today, more than 2.1 billion people lack access to safe drinking water. More than half the global population lacks access to proper sanitation services. More than a third of the global population is affected by water scarcity. Roughly 80% of wastewater is discharged untreated which adds to the existing high levels of local water pollution.
Energy is an essential part of the solution
IM Power and its partners provide integrated energy desalination systems to supply large volumes of potable water using Multiple Effect Distillation (MED) and Reverse Osmosis (RO) technology. These projects generate substantial flows of brine which have to be carefully managed to mitigate the environmental impact.
These projects, when combined with waste-water recovery and treatment plants, can provide a comprehensive solution to the water requirements. This solution is a cost effective way to promote economic development whilst protecting the environment.