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Global Norms for Public Acceptance for Desalination and Water Ruse

  • Raed Bashitialshaaer
  • Håkan Hyden
Publishing year: 2011
Language: English
Pages: 41-62
Publication/Series: Norms between law and society - A collection of Essys from Doctorates from Different Academic Subjects and Different Parts of the World
Volume: 37
Document type: Book chapter
Publisher: Lund University (Media-Tryck)

Abstract english

Desalting technologies and fresh water production has been developed over the years, including primarily thermal and membrane processes. Five different types of desalination technology were studied and compared for long-term of use namely, thermal processes include multistage flash evaporation (MSF), multiple effect evaporation (ME), and vapor compression (VC) and membrane processes contain reverse osmosis (RO) and electrodialysis (ED). Among these technologies, six different input water sources were also used and studied for each of the processes mentioned above and namely seawater, brackish water, wastewater, rivers, brine and pure water as the only solution of fresh water in some countries.

Wastewater in most countries is being more and more recognized as of vital importance to be treated and made safe for reuse. Treated wastewater is used directly in irrigation of farms or landscape green areas. This paper gives an overview of the existing practices of wastewater reuse and of the constraints facing it. It concludes with recommendations and policy options that are likely to lift these constraints and to make a better use of the wastewater potential. It is observed that wastewater reuse amount is approximately counted 5% over the last 30 year.

Brine discharge will increase the salinities of the Arabian Gulf, Mediterranean Sea and Red Sea, with respectively some extra 2.24, 0.81 and 1.16 g/l in the year 2050. Desalination has advantages and disadvantages which may depend on the region, location, technology, impact and amount of fresh water production. For example, chemicals added in the pre-treatment stages could harm the fish production as well as the marine life in general. The content of nutrients in wastewater is positive for irrigation but with only secondary treatment problems like eutrophication in the Gulf may be increased if the exchange of water is low.

Public acceptance is often seen as a key reason why water-recycling technology is (accepted or) rejected. Unclear polices, institutional conflicts and lack of regulatory frameworks constitute other important constraints that hinder implementation and proper operation of wastewater reuse projects. A common assumption is that projects fail because the general public is unable to comprehend specialist information about risk and the belief that if the public were better informed, they would accept change more readily. Achieving sustainable water use through recycling may require better coordination between agencies and integrated government policies.


  • Law and Society
  • Water Engineering
  • Desalination
  • wastewater
  • water recycling
  • public acceptance
  • public engagement


  • ISBN: 91-7267-330-3
E-mail: raed [dot] bashitialshaaer [at] cme [dot] lu [dot] se

Visiting research fellow

Centre for Middle Eastern Studies


Center for Middle Eastern Studies
Lund University
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Phone: +46 (0)46 222 00 00 (pbx)
maria [dot] lofstedt [at] cme [dot] lu [dot] se