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How Desalination Turns Salt Water Fresh

The earth is filled with water. Okay, not literally. But the oceans do cover 71% of the surface. That's a whole lot of drinking possibilities, right? Wrong. With almost three-fourths of the planet covered in water, only one percent of the Earth's water is the fresh kind.
That means that there's far less drinking water readily available than needed. It also means your boat trip requires a hefty cargo of fresh water just for you and your guests to stay hydrated.
While you can't drink straight sea water, you can drink desalinated water. Desalination is the process of turning salt water into drinking water. Before you try a so-called DIY salt removal that you learned online, take a look at some serious salt water facts and the get the information that you need to know about the desalination process.

Ocean Water Issues

Drinking salty sea water won't exactly hydrate you. Even though you can eat salt in small quantities in your meals, drinking it in the form of ocean water can through your body's chemistry off—in a possibly deadly way.
When your liquid intake is too low, you will become dehydrated. Likewise, when your salt intake is too high you will also become dehydrated. Even though you absolutely need sodium in your diet, too much of it isn't healthy.
As your body tries to get rid of the excess salt that ocean water gives you (if you drink it), you urinate more than normal. Why? Your kidneys can't handle the super-saltiness of sea water. This results in serious dehydration.
The more salt water you drink, the more salt you add to your system. Instead of hydrating your body by drinking the water, it has the opposite effect. This can put you into a short, but vicious cycle that has tragic results.

Desalination's History

Desalination, or removing the salt, isn't exactly new technology. It's one of the oldest forms of water purification. Ancient civilizations used desalination processes on their ships to turn ocean water into drinking water. Obviously, humans don't use the same methods that were popular thousands of years ago, but the goal is still the same.
As manufacturing grew and technology advanced, desalination began to take place on a larger scale. Instead of solely sticking to ships, desalination plants also popped up in arid climates where fresh water is scarce. By the early 21st century there were more than 12,500 desalination plants in 120 countries around the world.
That number jumped to over 18,400 plants by 2015, according to the International Desalination Association (IDA). Combined, these plants produce more than 22.9 billion gallons of water per day and serve more than 300 million people worldwide. Now that's a lot of water.

Desalination Process

Desalination happens by way of two different processes. Thermal distillation is a desalination method that uses heat to remove the salt. When the sea water is heated it evaporates, leaving the salt behind. The resulting water vapor is collected and condensed into usable water via a cooling process.
The other method is known as membrane separation. This technique involves pushing the ocean water through a semipermeable membrane that separates the salt from the water. This process is also referred to as reverse osmosis desalination. It requires less energy use than the thermal option, often making it less costly. Reverse osmosis is now widely used in desalination plants as well as in commercial, residential and boating settings.
Do you need a desalination product? If you're looking to turn salt water into drinkable fresh water, contact the Reverse Osmosis experts at Reverse Osmosis by calling 800-255-8115 for more information about our products.