2016 – Why may Coastal Reservoir Dominate Future Water Supply?

Assoc. Prof. Shu-Qing Yang

Next to air, freshwater has been always considered as a key resource, central for economic development and human’s basic needs. Currently the total population is about 7 billion, and by 2050, global population is projected to be 9 billion. An additional 10 more Nile Rivers are needed, and the water demand is increasing steadily and significantly. The dams industry has successfully solved the water deficit problems in many places for most of the time, but more and more countries and regions are gradually resorting to other emerging technologies like desalination, wastewater recycling and rainwater tanks etc. as they believe that a dam is the 20th century technology and has too many significant negative impacts. However, available data show that the global water consumption is only 5~6% of annual runoff, e.g., Australia’s water use is about 20km3, but the runoff lost to the sea is up to 440km3. A coastal reservoir is a freshwater reservoir inside seawater, aimed at the development of freshwater from the sea without desalination. The 1st generation of coastal reservoir has emerged in China, Singapore, Hong Kong and Korea successfully, but generally its water quality is not as good as that in inland dams. The 2nd generation of coastal reservoirs has been developed and its water quality is at least comparable with the water in existing reservoirs like Warragamba dam. The application of coastal reservoirs in Australia is discussed and the feasibility is investigated. The preliminary designs of coastal reservoirs in SE Queensland, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth show that the coastal reservoir is a feasible and effective technology for Australia’s water crisis.


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