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Global Water Desalination: A Comparison Between Saudi Arabia and The United States of America

Alobireed, Abdulrahman (2021) Global Water Desalination: A Comparison Between Saudi Arabia and The United States of America. Master Essay, University of Pittsburgh.

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According to the United Nations (UN) report in 2018, there are more than 2 billion people who live in areas of high water stress and this number is expected to increase significantly by 2025. Saudi Arabia (SA) experiences particularly acute water stress because of its limited access to freshwater. On average, the United States of America (US) experiences less water stress compared to SA. The US Southwest, Midwest, parts of California and Florid bear a bigger burden of the water shortage in the country. Nevertheless, both countries called for alternative sources of freshwater. Desalinated water represents the most efficient freshwater resource, particularly for countries that undergo water shortage. As of 2018, about 17,000 desalination plants were producing virtually 35.8 billion m3/ year (95.4 million m3/ day) to more than 300 million persons in 177 countries, of which, SA is the lead producer at approximately 12 million m3/ day of desalinated water, accounting for 22% of total global desalinated water demand. SA is followed by the US, which is leading the high-income western countries, with a production of 10.6 million m3/ day from desalinated water. Currently, both countries are exercising unprecedented growth in the production of desalinated water.
Although freshwater security stemming from desalination has a wide range of public health benefits, it remains controversial because of its potential economic and environmental impacts. Mostly the desalination concerns are centered around cost efficiency, intake water, and the hypersaline concentrate (brine) production. With increasing water demand and water scarcity, it is projected that the desalination market will grow rapidly in the future. The decision regarding whether or not to adopt desalination is complicated. Freshwater availability, type of technology used, feedwater salinity, and plant size are the main determinants. Implementing strategies to manage brine discharge coupled with continuous improvement to the technology used is crucial to prevent the negative impacts on the environment while having cost-effective water desalination.


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Item Type: Other Thesis, Dissertation, or Long Paper (Master Essay)
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Alobireed, Abdulrahmanaba80@pitt.eduaba80
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairPeterson, Jamesjimmyp@pitt.edujimmypUNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberBortey-Sam, Nestaneb60@pitt.eduneb60UNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberNg,
Date: 19 May 2021
Date Type: Completion
Submission Date: 30 April 2021
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 38
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Environmental and Occupational Health
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master Essay
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Desalination, Water, Public Health
Date Deposited: 19 May 2021 12:49
Last Modified: 19 May 2021 12:49


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