Tech

Millions of people are running out of water – how desalination plants are trying to fix that

VIDEO13:2813:28
How desalination plants make ocean water drinkable

Today, one out of three people don't have access to safe drinking water. One reason is that 96.5% of that water is found in our oceans. It's saturated with salt, and undrinkable. Most of the freshwater is locked away in glaciers or deep underground. Less than 1% of it is available to us.

Desalination is an important tool in the fight against water scarcity. Its reliability is becoming critical. If you have a desalination plant, energy and seawater, you can reliably get clean water. But it's not a cure-all. There are concerns about the amount of energy required, how much it costs and its environmental impacts.

Water scarcity is a complex, difficult problem. Climate change is introducing growing uncertainty. Desalination uses a large amount of energy and, for some, it's fundamentally difficult advocating for a technology that would be adding to our growing, and mostly fossil fuel-based energy needs.

Watch the video to see how desalination provides safe drinking but creates other environmental concerns in the process.

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