Latest Issue


Desalination - great idea, shame about the costs

By Fiona Harvey   September 2003

One sixth of the world’s population lacks access to clean water. About 40 per cent suffer from water shortages. This seems absurd on a planet whose surface is 70 per cent water. We even have the desalination technology to turn seawater into fresh, clean drinking water. Why, then, is it confined to a few rich nations?

The simple answer is cost. Desalination requires the building of expensive treatment plants, which are beyond the means of the countries that most need the technology: Africa, central and south America, India, China and large stretches of the middle east.

Desalinated water costs about…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect