Recommendation on a suitable desalination process for the South African environment
Essien, David Ibanga Ene
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Supplies of potable water from traditional sources have been increasingly depleted due to increasing world population and per capita water use. In South Africa fresh water is a vital, but scarce resource, distributed unevenly in time (frequent droughts alternate with periods of good rainfall) and space (the eastern half of the country is markedly wetter than the western half). Increasing demand for water, and decreased water quality, make careful water management a priority. Water use in South Africa is dominated by irrigation, which accounts for around 60 per cent of all water used in the country. Domestic and urban use accounts for about 30 per cent, while mining, large industries and power generation account for some 7 per cent. Commercial forestry plantations account for a little less than 4 per cent of total use by reducing runoff into rivers and streams (DWAF). Desalination of sea water is a promising technology available for the provision of fresh water to the arid regions of South Africa. However, as the technology develops, there is a need for the adequate customization of its technological processes to suite particular geographical regions. This research work is focused on the determination of an adequate desalination process by the use of a decision tree. The research will explore in qualitative format, the different types of desalination processes available, their pros and cons as well as discuss the factors affecting the selection of desalination processes.
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