Desalination Plants: Potential Impacts of Brine Discharge on Marine Life
Water has always been the earth’s most valuable natural resource for human beings and ecosystems. Fresh water is an essential natural resource that supports human beings, flora, and fauna habitat. Reductions in water quality and quantity have serious negative impacts on ecosystems.
Over the past several decades, a tremendous growth in human populations and industrial activities has resulted in a significant demand for fresh and clean water.
To meet these challenges and meet the pressures of demand it is critical to find a new alternative of water resource as the natural water resources have almost vanished. In spite of the high cost of desalinated water, an important quantity is already produced to meet the necessity for fresh water worldwide.
Desalination could hold the key for new fresh water resources. Building more dams with significant sizable catchments would be a great solution in regards to supplying Australia with fresh water; however, many regions in Australia are facing a reduction in the rainfall and level of runoff.
All the dams around Australia face a vast reduction in the storage level due to the diminishment of the inflow rate and the growth in water usage. Some arguments will be raised against building desalination plants on the grounds of environmental impacts to the surrounding area, especially to marine life due to the high concentrated brine discharge that diffuses back into the ocean.
The impacts of the brine discharge are due to the high level of salinity and total alkalinity and alteration to the temperature.
These impacts could be considerable in terms of the influence on the marine organisms such as the development of species, survival of larva and breeding and reproductive traits. However this paper provides some evidence that the influence of discharge for desalination plant can be neglected in term of any environmental impact to the aquatic flora and fauna species.