Water Woes: Desalination Is the Perfect Solution

By ROBERT GEISMAR | Jan 23, 2019

In the 4th century B.C., Greek sailors used evaporation to desalt sea water. Today, pleasure and military ships, cities and countries use the desalination process for their drinking water. Australia, Israel and Saudi Arabia are the major users of desalinated water. In New Jersey, Cape May and Keansburg have desalination plants to process their city water. Within the U.S., Florida, California, Texas and Virginia are the largest users, and the country as a whole has the capacity to desalinate more than 1.4 billion gallons (5.6 million cubic meters) of water per day.

In our warming planet, few resources will be more affected than water. More frequent droughts, storms and changes in evaporation alter supplies critical for drinking, farming and industry. The changing climate has made control of water more valuable. This is certainly true in most of the U.S.

In areas of the state, officials began worrying about declines in groundwater basins due to the level in wells that has fallen significantly. If you cannot get water from rivers, underground water reserves and reservoirs and capture water in fog nets, your last option is to desalinate ocean water. 

Fortunately, New Jersey is a shore state, which leads to only one conclusion: Desalination plants generated by wind and solar power are a perfect solution and belong here. New Jersey is ripe to supply water to its residents, as well as Pennsylvania and beyond.

We need to desalinate the world, which would lower sea levels and provide the world with essential water, greening up the deserts, farms, grazing lands and forests. Consider the economic benefits for the people of New Jersey. It only make sense that every shore state in the world begin the same effort.

Another factor is that even a small amount of sea level rise can have a profound effect. We call some of the flooding that has started to occur more frequently in the absence of massive storm events “nuisance flooding,” but that term may be misleading when you think about the huge problems that even a small amount of sea level change can cause. There are increased erosion, corrosion of structures, and the risk that seawater could contaminate drinking water supplies.

Estimates put 2050 as the year Manhattan, Jersey City and LBI will be under water. Can we beat the clock? Only if local, state and federal officials and the private sector take action now. Cities such as Tampa, Fla., and Cape May, N.J., are showing the way.

Every human should have access to clean drinking water. It’s difficult for most to fathom that large numbers of people around the world do not have water for crops, personal hygiene and consumption. The cheapest cost-effective solution is to use wind power and solar power to energize desalination plants that would improve the welfare of people, grow crops, reduce diseases and, most of all, save lives. Innovative systems and superior technical expertise combined with New Jersey know-how will generate a free source (ocean water) to keep us all alive, working and flourishing.

The Kirkwood-Cohansey Aquifer, located under the Pine Barrens of southern New Jersey, contains 17 trillion U.S. gallons of the purest water in the U.S. Would you rather have clean water running through Pine Barrens pipelines or natural gas?

Robert Geismar of Manchester, N.J., has rented and vacationed on Long Beach Island since 1955.




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