12 reasons why nonconventional resources are critical to mitigate the effects of climate change

Energy efficiency was the main protagonist of the conference “Mitigation of the effects of climate change on supply and sanitation. Non-conventional resources” that was organised last November 12. The event was organised together with the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism and ICEX, Spain Export and Investment, in the framework of the COP25, the World Climate Summit that took place in Madrid, Spain. The event focused on the importance that unconventional water resources have today and will have in the future to alleviate the effects of climate change. The common scenarios in the forecasts of climate change is that water resources will be more scarce, with more frequent droughts.

And in these scenarios points out the need to generate a more efficient management of water resources, combining the solutions that guarantee all water resources: saving and efficient consumption and conventional and non-conventional resources, among which desalination and water reuse stand out. In this context, and as conclusions of speakers and attendees to the event, AEDyR presents 12 measures to advance the promotion of the use of non-conventional water resources to mitigate the effects of climate change on water supply and sanitation:

1.- Desalination and water reuse are now essential for the supply of water to the population and other uses such as agriculture or industry, as it is an increasingly scarce resource.

2.- It is important that these non-conventional resources are increasingly sustainable, for which technological advances and guaranteed regulation is fundamental.

3.- Energy efficiency in the production of desalinated water has increased drastically in recent years.

4.- Improvements in efficiency and reduction of energy consumption have led to the production prices of these non-conventional water resources being increasingly closer to the production of traditional water sources.

5.- The production of desalinated water is associated with energy consumption which, depending on the energy model supplying electricity to the plant, may have a greater or lesser environmental impact. But it is important to point out that desalination plants never emit CO2 directly.

6.- The non-energy environmental impacts of desalination are known and can be minimised through a good choice of location, avoiding sensitive communities, over-dimensioning the possibilities of dilution in the project, with previously filtered seawater catchments, monitoring on a scientific basis and acting on demand to promote an efficient use of resources.

7.- The importance of making the population aware of these nonconventional resources, as well as the
generalisation of the appropriate terminology (purified water, concentrated water…) will achieve a better public acceptance of these water resources.

8.- Responsible consumption of water is essential, as well as raising awareness of the scarcity of the planet’s resources.

9.- Stricter demands for water quality influence the price of supplying this resource, guaranteeing the recovery of costs, including environmental costs.

10.- Urban water management can be made practically neutral in terms of energy consumption by recovering the waste energy generated and work must be done in this direction.

11.- The interconnection of all water sources, both conventional and non-conventional, is essential to achieve supply in scenarios in which some of the resources fail.

12.- It is understood that sustainability is and will be a priority objective, not only of the water sector, but of all industrial sectors.