Brackish Groundwater as a Drinking Water Source

Dec 26, 2022
 by Seven Seas News Team

Much of the water available in underground aquifers is brackish, that is, less salty than seawater but still too salty to drink.

As a source of drinking water, brackish groundwater offers a viable alternative to both fresh groundwater and desalinated seawater

As water scarcity becomes an increasing reality in many parts of the United States and other parts of the world, alternative sources of water such as desalinated seawater are providing a lifeline. The ocean is vast and offers an unlimited supply of water. But this is only a viable source of water for communities on islands or near the coast.

Municipalities and the industrial sector are increasingly turning to desalinated brackish groundwater to augment or even to substitute for their current water supplies, reducing their dependence on freshwater sources. Brackish groundwater, which is less salty than seawater, but still too salty to drink, can either be used directly for applications such as aquaculture, hydraulic fracturing, or cooling water for power plants, or it can be treated to provide a source of drinking water.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), as of 2010, more than 95% of the 649 active desalination plants in the U.S. are located inland, with most capable of treating brackish groundwater.

Alternative Water Sources Needed

In many parts of the U.S., fresh groundwater is withdrawn from aquifers faster than it can be replenished, resulting in declining groundwater levels and a reduction in the amount of water stored in underground aquifers, which can cause land subsidence. It also results in a reduction in stream flow rates and dam reservoir levels.

The demand for groundwater is expected to grow further due to population growth and dwindling surface water supplies. Developing brackish groundwater as an alternative source of water can help improve water security and build drought resilience, especially in drought-prone regions of the country.

What Is Brackish Water?

The USGS defines brackish groundwater as mineralized groundwater that is distastefully salty and that has a dissolved-solids content greater than that of fresh water but less than that of seawater. Total dissolved solids (TDS) typically are present at concentrations between 1,000-10,000 milligrams per liter (mg/L).

Making Brackish Water Potable

Brackish groundwater is an abundant yet relatively untapped resource, and with the introduction of new cost- and energy-efficient desalination technologies, it offers a feasible alternative to desalinated seawater as a source of potable water for inland regions.

To make brackish water potable, the TDS that make it unpleasantly salty must be removed. This can be achieved by treating the water using brackish water reverse osmosis (BWRO) desalination technologies.

Seven Seas Water Group has been providing desalination of both seawater and brackish water for decades. We specialize in developing turnkey decentralized water treatment systems that can be shipped anywhere.

With our Water-as-a-Service® partnerships, we help our clients overcome pressing water challenges with solutions that fall within their budgetary constraints. Seven Seas shoulders all the responsibilities and costs associated with designing, building, operating, updating, and maintaining the desalination plant, with no upfront investment required. We own the plant and only charge clients for the treated water we provide.

Contact our team of experts to learn more about our brackish water reverse osmosis desalination systems and how they can help you improve your water security by tapping into this abundant water resource.

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