There is nothing sustainable about our present levels of water consumption and the scary fact is we will simply run out of it in the future if we don't start using it more sensibly rather than treating it as an infinite resource it has to be regulated and used more wisely, people see it as a basic human right but that right is denied to billions of people while others use far more than their share in the never ending quest for increased profits, or just to earn a living. It is clear that the earth's natural resources and water being at the top of the list, are under tremendous pressure and that we can not continue on the present course as it is simply not sustainable.

Although 75% of the earth's surface is covered with water, 97% of this is seawater, which is undrinkable, and with the global demand increasing, desalination is becoming a vital necessity. At present over 3 million people in over 150 countries rely for their drinking water on desalinated water from the oceans.

Although the cost of pumping water from where it is in abundance to where it is needed has increased considerably over the last 20 years, the cost of desalination has reduced, making it even more of a viable alternative. Critics who say that taking water and salt from the sea will harm the oceans and the wildlife may not realise that the salt that has been removed is put back into the sea, as is most of the fresh water after it has been used. The output back into the oceans is carefully monitored and regulated to prevent harm to wildlife and the intake systems are designed in such a way to do this also.

In some parts of the world it has actually become cheaper to desalinate than to deliver water by the traditional means, pumping it from reservoirs and other ground water sources. A desalination plant can produce water that can be shared with the country's existing water supply systems. Due to improvements in technology over the last couple of decades, the energy required to process seawater into drinking water has reduced by as much as 50% - using more efficient membrane processes like reverse osmosis and energy recovery devices which capture and recycle over 50% of the energy used has played a large part in this revolution.

Thermal desalination processes using steam is becoming more energy efficient and more and more large industries are using combination systems using both membrane and thermal processes to process the seawater into usable fresh water. Power plants are springing up worldwide that are built right next to and incorporate with desalination plants not just because it is environmentally less damaging to the environment but mainly because it is economically more sensible, it's just cheaper.

Renewable energy resources like this can help us as a civilisation move gradually away from the use of fossil fuels as we create sustainable systems that require less energy by being designed to be more efficient and less wasteful. Sometimes the desalination plants are connected directly to other renewable and clean energy systems such as in Australia, where the energy needed for powering the desalination plants is provided by wind power turbines located out to sea. In Saudi Arabia the world's largest consumer of desalinated water is using solar panels to provide the energy needed for desalination. All the advances in renewable energy resources are making desalination one of the world's most important resources providing fresh water wherever it is needed.