Monday, September 28, 2009


At the onslaught of typhoon Ondoy, floodwaters were extremely everywhere in several hard-hit places. No high ground was assured of safety as the water levels were rising rapidly. But the irony of it all was that there was also no safe drinking water around. For this reason, perhaps the government's technical advisers would consider desalination as a solution to a serious (drinking) water shortage, especially in times of calamity.

This process, the removal of salt from sea water, is practiced routinely in many countries like Israel, which has turned many deserts into lush fruit and vegetable farms. Distillation is the most widely-used desalination process today. A simple form of distillation apparatus is used in countries with salt water and intense sunlight - like the Philippines. Salt water is placed under a transparent cover and the sun's rays partially vaporize the water. The water vapor is caught in the transparent cover and, when it condenses into liquid form, water flows into a collectiong through. Other processes make use of the fact that when salt water is frozen, the ice crystals contain no salt. There are already proposals for large-scale nuclear desalination which our government can make inquiries. But other more affordable desalination processes include freezing, reverse osmosis, ionic processes, electrodialysis and techniques that change the physical and chemical properties of salt water.

With the hundreds of millions of pesos used by the water agancies in the country, how come no government expert has been assigned to look into these desalination programs? Preliminary inquiries could be made with embassies of countries which utilize successful desalination projects, and perhaps even our experts can be sent abroad to look for the most suited and economical apparatus which should be immediately purchased and used back here. This is one expense that the public will surely welcome.

But first, these officials should be warned against thinking first of commissions and overpricing, which may sabotage their missions.
(Image from