With almost half of humanity suffering insufficient access to potable water and water scarcity for agriculture considered to be a global crisis, seawater desalination has emerged as a feasible solution. Between 1994 and 2004, world desalination capacity increased from 17.3 to 35.6 million m3/day. At present, sea-water desalination provides 1% of the world’s drinking water.
Desalinized water is increasingly considered a source of water for agriculture as well. With 69% of the global water supply going to irrigation, present freshwater resources may soon be insufficient to meet the growing demand for food. A recent report concludes that, although the costs of desalination remain prohibitively expensive for full use by irrigated agriculture, for high-value cash crops like greenhouse vegetables and flowers, its use may be economically feasible.