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Tamil Nadu: A Sip of Sea Water March 15,2017   |  Source: The Wire

Population growth estimates suggest that India will be supporting over 1.5 billion inhabitants by 2050 if the present growth rate of 1.9% per year continues. From 710 billion cubic metres (BCM) in 2010, the demand for water is expected to surge ahead to 1180 BCM in 2050 as the Planning Commission has predicted a 2.5-time increase in domestic and industrial consumption. With conventional surface water sources drying up or disappearing over time and borewells getting deeper by the year, sourcing and supplying water have become uphill tasks for corporations and panchayats across urban and rural areas. It is at such a time that seawater desalination is diligently emerging as one of the top alternatives. But the most important question is, is it a viable one?

A brand new technology

Desalination technology has grown and matured by leaps and bounds over the years. Seawater Reverse Osmosis (SWRO) technology, developed by US scientists in the 1950s was a game changer of sorts. Osmosis is a naturally occurring phenomenon where the solvent (the substance in which other materials remain dissolved) moves from a region of lower concentration to that of a higher concentration through a semipermeable membrane to equalise the solution’s overall concentration. Reverse osmosis (RO) does

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