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Seminar Presentation E: Environmental Ethics and Desalination

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Joanna M

on 17 September 2012

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Transcript of Seminar Presentation E: Environmental Ethics and Desalination

Joanna Murphy, Ashleigh Atkins,
Luke D'Anna & Ben Austin Seminar Presentation E:
Environmental Ethics and Desalination ETHICS OF DESALINATION What is water desalination? Pacific Trash Vortex Top 5 Worst Oil Catastrophes Desalination Myths and Misconceptions Gulf desalination harming the environment Harm to marine species... Desalination Opposition Victoria Ethical Diving No generation should increase
its wealth to the
detriment of others It is acceptable to damage the environment if there is a plan to correct the damage in the future. A renewable source is better than a non-renewable source An engineer should refuse to work on a project that will knowingly damage the environment The environment has a finite capacity to assimilate human made changes An engineer should be knowledgeable on all of the environmental consequences of their project The environment is our most valuable asset and so it should be protected at all costs I would pay twice as much to use exclusively renewable energy sources. Question 1 The world's demand for water doubled in the last century FALSE
During the 20th century the world's population experienced a growth from approximately 1.6 billion people in 1900 to over 6 billion in 2000.
This is one of the major factors that has seen the demand for fresh water increase at least six fold. Question 2 Sydney is consuming less water now then it did in the 70s Question 3 300 million people in 150 countries rely on desalinated water TRUE
People all over the globe rely on desalinated water not only for drinking, but also for irrigation and other applications where fresh water is required Question 7 The Sydney Kurnell Desalination Plant has the capacity to produce 500 million litres of drinking water daily.
(This is equivalent to 1200 olympic swimming pools) FALSE
The plant currently has the capacity to produce half of this volume. However, it has be designed so that this capacity can be achieved in less than 2 years of upgrades Question 5 There are more than 10,000 desalination plants in the world TRUE
There were more than 14,000 desalination plants in operation in 2009 producing more than 59.9 gigalitres of fresh water per day. Question 4 The top 5 countries with the largest desalination market are Australia, Britain, United States, China and New Zealand Question 6 Multi-stage Flash Distillation is more common that Reverse Osmosis Distillation A project should not proceed until we know all the environmental consequences Case Studies Three Gorges Dam - A Failure Question 4 The top 5 countries with the largest desalination market are Australia, Britain, United States, China and New Zealand FALSE
They are
Saudi Arabia
United Arab Emirates
United States
China
Israel Question 5 There are more than 10,000 desalination plants in the world Question 1 The world's demand for water doubled in the last century Question 2 Sydney is consuming less water now then it did in the 70s TRUE
Due to the implementation of water conservation programs. These not only include providing a water conservative infrastructure, but also the promotion and education of water conservation. Question 3 300 million people in 150 countries rely on desalinated water Question 6 Multi-stage Flash Distillation is more common that Reverse Osmosis Distillation TRUE
Hybrid cogeneration systems are beginning to become more popular. Using both multi-stage flash and reverse osmosis to distill water into a drinkable substance Question 7 The Sydney Kurnell Desalination Plant has the capacity to produce 500 million litres of drinking water daily.
(This is equivalent to 1200 olympic swimming pools) Question 8 The water intake for the Sydney Desalination plant is only 0.1m/s Question 9 It cost more to desalinate water than it does to source it from fresh water supplies. FALSE
Although true in a majority of cases, there have been studies that show it to be more energy efficient to desalinate water close to where fresh water is needed than to pump it large distances from reservoirs. Question 8 The water intake for the Sydney Desalination plant is only 0.1m/s TRUE
This speed is slow enough to let fish escape. The pipes also have a 0.5-10mm mesh for physical exclusion of marine life. Question 9 It cost more to desalinate water than it does to source it from fresh water supplies. Question 10 The Sydney Kurnell Desalination Plant was a necessary development.  - Act as back-up water supply during drought and if dam levels are very low

 - Is useful in regions with overdrawn or extremely fragile water resources

 - Climate change has induced unreliable water supply

 - Can meet water demand for increasing population densities, particularly in large cities

 - Can process treated wastewater for use in industrial processes, reducing the need for these industries to source water from freshwater supplies

 - As a result the volume of treated wastewater entering the environment is also reduced
 97% of the earth’s water is salt water, thus it is essentially an “infinite” resource

 - Easy to source for large coastal cities – does not have to be transported over great distances

 - Suitable for countries with severe drought conditions and no other reliable sources of water PERCEIVED ADVANTAGES OF DESALINATION: - Capital costs and operation and maintenance costs are very high: the plant is very energy intensive, consuming a significant amount of electric energy as part of the reverse osmosis

 - Oxygen levels in the air are reduced and the waste water discharged has an increased density

 - Increased greenhouse gas emissions and pollution due to the plant’s operation.
A plant comparable to the one operating in Perth consumes:

24 MW of electricity, or 185,000 MWh, to produce 45 GL of water every year!!!

- Couldn't desalination plants be powered by renewable energy sources, such as wind energy, as has been done in Western Australia?
- little net emissions, thus it could be regarded as a “clean” project

- ethical question: should renewable energies be employed to supply electricity to households and other areas of higher priority?

- Can water demands be met without desalination?
e.g. water recycling, greywater use, creating a government support scheme for the installation of rainwater tanks in all households and office buildings for example.

 - Some see desalination as an easy or lazy solution to fix the water crisis. Most western countries are fairly wasteful in the way they use water with increases in pricing seemingly the only solution to force people to conserve water to date

 - Locals living near the plant in Kurnell protested against the project because they believed it would cause noise pollution and traffic congestion

 - Discharge of the saline solution (concentrated brine) in high concentrations causes unacceptable water salinity levels that are damaging to the marine environment, must be diluted properly prior to discharge Disadvantages of Desalination WHAT IS DESALINATION
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