Desalination of Water: a Review

Water Pollution (G Toor and L Nghiem, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Water Pollution


Purpose of Review

In the face of rising water demands and dwindling freshwater supplies, alternative water sources are needed. Desalination of water has become a key to helping meet increasing water needs, especially in water-stressed countries where water obtained by desalination far exceeds supplies from the freshwater sources.

Recent Findings

Recent technological advancements have enabled desalination to become more efficient and cost-competitive on a global scale. This has become possible due to the  improvement in the materials used in membrane-based desalination, incorporation of energy-recovery devices to reduce electricity demands, and combining different desalination methods into hybrid designs. Further, there has been a gradual phasing-in of renewable energy sources to power desalination plants, which will help ensure the long-term sustainability of desalination. However, there are still challenges of reducing energy demands and managing waste products from the desalination to prevent adverse environmental effects.


This article reviews the history, location, components, costs, and other facets of desalination and summarizes the  new technologies that are set to improve the overall efficiency of the desalination process.


Desalination Reverse osmosis Membrane fouling Brine management 


Author Contributions

N.D. wrote the first draft, and G.S.T. contributed to the revision.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

40726_2018_85_MOESM1_ESM.docx (742 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 742 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Soil and Water SciencesUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  2. 2.Department of Environmental Science and TechnologyUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA

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