Question: Do you think in the near future will be able to filter the water in the ocean so we can use?

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  1. Hi Cristi! That’s a very good question!
    Desalination (the process which removes dissolved minerals from the water to make it drinkable) is already being done in some places, where they have built big desalination plants (big factories). For example in California (USA) and in Saudi Arabia.
    Unfortunately desalination is an expensive process which requires a lot of energy. In addition, there are also some environmental issues. For example, marine life can be disturbed and also killed when the water is sucked up by the desalination pipes. Also when the dissolved minerals removed are dumped back in the sea, these have higher concentrations than normal and this can disturb the marine environment in that place.

    These are the main reasons why there are not so many desalination plants in many places and this processes isn’t used everywhere. But you are right, we may get to a point where we really need to start using this resource more, because the available freshwater on land will not be enough for the world’s population. Especially in arid places where freshwater is really scarce.
    Hopefully new techniques will be developed in the future to make the desalination process less expensive and more energy efficient. Actually, I’m pretty sure that there are scientists somewhere who are already working on that. I also think that the environmental problems linked to it are being analysed and solutions can be found.

    Finally, I just want to add that the desalination process is also used on ships (for example) to produce freshwater that they can use on board. Imagine a big ship with lots of people travelling on it for a long time: they wouldn’t be able to store enough freswater from the beginning of the journey, so they need to produce some more while they are travelling.
    This was happening also on the big ship used for scientific research that I have been on for an oceanographic cruise. We travelled for about 3 weeks and there were about 40 people on board. We had a lot of water in the tanks when we left, but we also had to produce some more. But we were in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean, so luckily there was a lot of seawater there that we could use! 😀



  1. Thank you for the interesting answers …
    I like that your offered information are sprinkled with personal experiences …
    Liliana – math&physics teacher


  2. You’re very welcome! I’m glad you found the answers interesting and hopefully useful. I’m definitely finding the questions very interesting!