Desalination, now considered a feasible option to meet industries' fresh water requirement, can also help state governments meet public demand, according to industry representatives at a conference on water management in Chennai, India, on 30 June 2004.
Speakers at the event claimed that production and distribution facilities must be decentralised to meet local needs cost effectively. Some experts argued that the government should explore traditional water conservation methods, including rainwater harvesting and recycling, rather than technology-intensive options.
Major companies, such as Chennai Petroleum Corporation Ltd (CPCL) and Orchid Chemicals, are planning major investments in desalination plants. CPCL, which will invest up to US$ 12 million this year in recycling and water conservation, will spend US$ 43 million next year for a desalination plant. Orchid Chemicals is also planning a desalination plant at its production facility at Alathur.
Addressing the seminar, TN-AQUA 2004, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry, Vice President Mr. S. Mani of Orchid Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals said that industries should not only look at water recycling but also use technologies that are not water-intensive. For example, Orchid's decision to use air-cooling systems rather than water-cooling saves 300 kilolitres/day of water. The company has taken steps to build a desalination plant.