NEW DELHI, India – India has less than a handful of operational desalination plants but a dire water shortage is forcing the country to rethink how it can bolster water supplies.
Water availability is set to drop by almost 50 percent per person, per year between 2001 to 2050.
As a result, Harsh Vardhan, union minister of earth sciences has said that the country will be developing a desalination mission.
The Hinustan Times quoted Vardham as saying: “In deep south where the rivers have run dry desalination is a must. Freshwater requirement is so huge that people cannot survive.”
Water scarcity has become a common challenge in many parts of India, with groundwater supplies depleted and cities reliant on private water tanks and even bottled water.
Data from the World Bank predicts that by 2020, at least 21 Indian cities will run their groundwater supplies dry.
Local reports show that Tamil Nadu is witnessing its worst drought in 140 years, with the four main reservoirs – Poondi, Red Hills, Cholavaram and Chembarambakkam – now empty.
India has had some experience with desalination but on a relatively small scale compared to other nations.
The Nemmeli reverse osmosis (RO) desalination project provides 100,000 m3/day in Chennai and was developed in a joint venture led by engineering firm VA Tech Wabag. The client is the Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board.
Meanwhile the 100,000 m3/day Minjur RO desalination plant has been carried out by Indian infrastructure firm IVRCL on a design, build, own, operate and transfer basis over a 25 year period.