Desalination won’t solve world’s water woes, report says

Another high-tech environmental solution may be going out the window: a new report from the World Wildlife Fund says desalinating water could hurt more than it helps. Estimating that there are more than 10,000 desalination plants around the world, WWF says the energy-intensive practice of filtering salt out of seawater can harm marine life and generates large amounts of greenhouse-gas emissions that may actually threaten the planet’s freshwater supplies through climate-change-induced drought and glacial melt. “The quite possibly mistaken lure of widespread water availability from desalination … has the potential to drive a major misdirection of public attention, policy, and funds away from the pressing need to use all water wisely,” the group says. Use water wisely? The world chortles in your general direction, WWF — as evidenced by Australia’s announcement that it will build one of the world’s biggest desalination plants to help provide a “drought-proof” supply of drinking water for Melbourne.