Inventory: 700 New Desalination Plants Commissioned in 2008

The global desalination market is growing at a record rate, led by surging demand for seawater desalination, according to the 22nd GWI/IDA Worldwide Desalting Plant Inventory.

The numbers were released Nov. 8 at a briefing on the State of Desalination held by the International Desalination Association (IDA) and Global Water Intelligence (GWI) at the IDA World Congress on Desalination and Water Reuse in Dubai.

The total capacity of plants now online is 59.9 million m3/d, a 6.6 million m3/d increase over last year. This represents the largest amount of desalination capacity brought on line in a single year.

Seven hundred new plants were commissioned around the world during the year, including the largest in the world: the 880,000m3/d Shoaiba 3 project. There are now 14,451 desalination plants on-line. A further 244 plants with a capacity of 9.1 million m3/d are known to be under contract or in construction.

The greatest increase has come from seawater desalination. Since November 2007, the installed capacity of seawater desalination plants has expanded by 29.6 percent to 35.9 million m3/d. To date in 2009, 4.6 million cubic meters per day of seawater desalination capacity was added, and demand for seawater desalination is forecast to grow dramatically.

“We project that by 2014, we will be adding more than the equivalent of a new River Thames each year to the world’s renewable freshwater resources. By 2020, the seawater desalination industry will be adding twice that amount. We are creating rivers that flows backwards from the sea,” said ” Christopher Gasson, publisher of GWI and DesalData.

“Seawater desalination represents a $10 billion industry today. We forecast that it will by a $16 billion industry in 2020,” Gasson added.

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