Desalination: What is it and how does it work?

Desalination: What is it and how does it work?
Desalination refers to any of several processes that remove dissolved salts and
impurities from a water source such as seawater and turn it into fresh, drinking
quality water. The greatest benefit of desalination is that it enables us to deliver
water all year round, even in times of drought.
Reverse Osmosis
The Adelaide Desalination Plant uses a technology called Reverse Osmosis to desalinate seawater from
the Gulf of St Vincent.
Reverse osmosis is the most commonly
used process to desalinate water and
involves pushing seawater through
super-fine membranes at extremely high
pressure. It can remove up to 99% of the
dissolved salts and inorganic matter.
Used around the world, reverse osmosis
provides the finest level of filtration
available and delivers clean, healthy
Saline Concentrate
While reverse osmosis produces fresh
water, the process also creates water
with a higher concentration of salts.
This saline concentrate is dispersed
about 1km offshore through specially
designed diffusers – where it is very
quickly and efficiently mixed with the
neighbouring seawater.
The proportion of saline concentrate
dispersed is tiny compared to the large
volume of seawater in the receiving waters of the Gulf, so the concentration of salt in the Gulf does not
change. Salinity levels in the surrounding seawater are regularly monitored to ensure there are no
environmental impacts on the marine environment.