Salinity is becoming an increasingly common problem within Oxfam programmes. Oxfam has installed small or medium scale desalination water treatment plants in Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Somaliland, Bangladesh and Kenya with varying success. With the exception of a solar stills pilot project in Bangladesh, all are based on reverse osmosis technology, which account for the vast majority of desalination plants globally. Whilst desalination is becoming more affordable and new technologies emerging, for humanitarian response - due to cost and complexity, water treatment through desalination should be considered as a measure of last resort.
Oxfam's Technical Briefing Note 26 discusses why desalination is sometimes necessary; the different methods of desalination; and describes Oxfam's experience and lessons learned so far.
The following Oxfam research report provides an overview of existing and emerging technology solutions for cost-efficient and low-energy desalination in Southeast Asia, and provides a summary of current and emerging desalination technologies.