Abstract

In recent years, desalination has been turned into a fresh water supply as a solution in some areas which suffer from water shortage. Desalinated water as an industrial product causes environmental problems. The objectives of this study are investigating environmental sustainability indicators related to seawater desalination via reverse osmosis (SWRO) on the coastline of Hormozgan province to provide a better insight for current and future water and energy demands related to this alternative. The selected indicators are specific energy consumption, seawater withdrawal, and brine volume in desalination, fuel consumption, carbon emission and water withdrawal in electric power generation. Using a solution-diffusion model, the direct indicator of energy consumption was obtained as used to calculate indirect indicators from the energy generation sector. Analysis of results indicates that desalination can lead to out-of-area side effects resulting from fuel type consumed and the practical power of the power plant, in addition to the regional environmental effects that are mostly affected by total dissolved solids of feed water. Based on the results, the environmental issues should be considered for the regions where desalination was planned as the most feasible alternative for water supply. This result can help policymakers to manage water supply and demand for sustainable development appropriately.

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