Sea water soon to become potable

Last Updated 08 February 2011, 17:49 IST

The technology, which aims at desalinating sea water to make it potable, will also reduce the country’s excess dependence on sweet water resources for drinking water.

According to L S Rathore, head of the Agromet division of the Ministry of Earth Sciences, the process involves retrieving water from deep sea and putting pressure to expedite its evaporation. The vapour is then collected before being condensed to get pure potable water.

“Though the technology is available in advanced countries, we developed it indigenously and the credit goes to  the experts in Chennai institute,” Rathore told Deccan Herald.

The researchers first built a small laboratory-based model with a capacity to desalinate five cubic metre per day. Later a desalination plant having a capacity to convert 1,000 cubic metre per day capacity was commissioned  off the coast of Chennai.

“The pilot projects have proved success of the technology and we are awaiting the approval of the ministry to launch  full-fledged desalination plants for commercial purpose,” Rathore said.

Such a plant could be a boon for the people of Sunderbans island, which was hit by cyclone Laila in 2009, resulting in the contamination of water in ponds.

The  authorities are forced to fetch water from outside every three or four days.    Moreover, a study has pointed out that by 2000, the per capita availability of fresh water will be 2,200 cubic metres. It has now been estimated that by 2017, India will be in dire need of water with the per capita availability declining to 1,600 cubic metres.

Studies have pegged the available aggregate annual usable water, ground and surface water combined, at around 1,100 billion cubic metres.    

“However, there are some issues that need to be addressed forthwith. Water from deep sea need to be tapped for the plant as the shore water has a possibility of contamination. Sea water is highly corrosive and might harm the equipment. All this might considerably increase the cost factor also. However, the process will not pose any threat to oceanic bio-diversity,” Rathore claimed.

(Published 08 February 2011, 17:49 IST)

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