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Chennai's Water Supply: Desalination Plant Impacts



  May 23, 2024

Chennai's Water Supply: Desalination Plant Impacts



Chennai, with its ever-expanding population and recurring water shortages, is set to welcome its fourth desalination plant, touted to be one of the largest in Asia. However, experts warn that relying on desalination plants may have significant long-term costs and suggest alternative solutions.

CHALLENGES WITH DESALINATION

Environmental Impact: Environmentalists argue that desalination plants cause significant environmental damage. The process of desalination releases brine, a highly concentrated saltwater byproduct, into the sea. This brine can erode the seabed and damage marine ecosystems beyond repair.

Energy Consumption: Desalination is an energy-intensive process that requires substantial amounts of energy, often sourced from thermal power plants. This increases the city’s reliance on non-renewable energy sources and contributes to higher carbon emissions.

ALTERNATIVE SOLUTIONS

Desilting and Deepening Water Bodies: Experts suggest that desilting and deepening existing water bodies in Chennai and neighboring towns could significantly improve water availability. Reviving traditional water bodies and implementing better water management practices can provide a more sustainable solution to the city’s water needs.

Flood and Drought Management: Chennai faces a paradox of battling floods during the rainy season and water scarcity during the summer. Improved flood management and conservation strategies can help balance this situation.

International Examples: Countries like France and Mexico are focusing on water conservation and community-driven initiatives to revive water bodies. These sustainable projects demonstrate that protecting and maintaining natural water sources can effectively address water shortages and environmental challenges.

OFFICIAL VIEWPOINT

Chennai Metro Water Board officials emphasize their commitment to avoiding water scarcity. They argue that desalination plants have helped attract businesses to the city by ensuring a reliable water supply. However, environmentalists and water conservationists advocate for a shift towards more sustainable water management practices to secure the city’s long-term water needs.



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