Combined desalination, water reuse, and aquifer storage and recovery to meet water supply demands in the GCC/MENA region

NorEddine Ghaffour, Thomas M. Missimer, Gary L. Amy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations

Abstract

Desalination is no longer considered as a nonconventional resource to supply potable water in several countries, especially in the Gulf Corporation Countries (GCC) and Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region as most of the big cities rely almost 100% on desalinated water for their supply. Due to the continuous increase in water demand, more large-scale plants are expected to be constructed in the region. However, most of the large cities in these countries have very limited water storage capacity, ranging from hours to a few days only and their groundwater capacity is very limited. The growing need for fresh water has led to significant cost reduction, because of technological improvements of desalination technologies which makes it an attractive option for water supply even in countries where desalination was unthinkable in the past. In the GCC/MENA region, operating records show that water demand is relatively constant during the year, while power demand varies considerably with a high peak in the summer season. However, desalination and power plants are economically and technically efficient only if they are fully operated at close to full capacity. In addition, desalination plants are exposed to external constraints leading to unexpected shutdowns (e.g. red tides). Hybridization of different technologies, including reverse osmosis and thermal-based plants, is used to balance the power to water mismatch in the demand by using the idle power from co-generation systems during low power demand periods. This has led to consideration of storage of additional desalinated water to allow for maximum production and stability in operation. Aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) would then be a good option to store the surplus of desalinated water which could be used when water demand is high or during unexpected shutdowns of desalination plants. In addition, increased reuse of treated wastewater could bring an integrated approach to water resources management. In this paper, the power to water demand mismatch in the GCC/MENA region as well as the feasibility of using ASR technology as an option for providing large-scale storage is assessed. © 2013 Desalination Publications.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)38-43
Number of pages6
JournalDesalination and Water Treatment
Volume51
Issue number1-3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Ocean Engineering

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