SPEAKING AT the European Council in Strasbourg, as part of a debate about water management, MP José Mendes Bota, Algarve leader of the Social Democratic Party, defended desalination as a valid, modern and competitive alternative when looking at the different sources of this primary life reserve.
He referred to the fact that the oceans signify 95 per cent of the water in the world and that half the world’s population lives within a 100km radius of the coastlines. Mendes Bota said that the idea most people have concerning desalination is of “old equipment and old fashioned, arduous techniques of water distillation that leave behind a salt residue”.
But, for the Portuguese MP, this situation has now changed and so must the perception. “New technology has been developed in the field of desalination, making the operational costs highly competitive, something unthinkable until recently,” he said. “There is no need for European countries, especially on the Mediterranean coast, including Portugal, Spain and the south of France, to suffer the grief brought about by drought, when they have an inexhaustible resource on their doorstep.”
The MP considers it necessary for “a major revolution” to take place in terms of mindsets towards water saving and rational consumption of water and also in the future methods of construction and town planning.
Currently, there are 1.2 billion people in the world without access to potable water and 2.6 billion people without basic sanitation. These areas reflect the highest prevalence of poverty on the planet and the highest mortality rates, due to diseases transmitted by infected water, typhoid, dysentery, cholera, hepatitis, malaria and trachoma, among others.