60% of the total freshwater supply,
so these findings are significant.”
BGU researcher Shaked Stein said: “Saline groundwater re-
sults from seawater intrusion into coastal aquifers, shifting the
fresh-saline water interface upward and landward, and replaces
fresh groundwater with saline groundwater. The RO process in
coastal aquifers will be helpful in restraining seawater intrusion.
“The study showed that aquifer filtration increases the feed
water quality and reduces the need for extensive pre-treatment
processes. RO desalination with saline groundwater as feed wa-
ter is also more efficient, with higher freshwater recoveries, less
chemical use and maintenance, and therefore less overall oper-
Due to seasonal seawater characteristic fluctuations, Stein
specifically recommended using saline groundwater in the sum-
mertime rather than seawater since the research identified high-
er membrane fouling in summer. “Salt rejection decreases in el-
evated temperatures due to changes in membrane permeability
and mass transfer.”
Saline Groundwater from Coastal Aquifers as a Source for
Desalination research received support from the Water Authority of Israel. WW
Saline groundwater from coastal aquifers is a better alternative water source than seawater for reverse osmosis (RO) desalination due to reduced membrane fouling and pre-treatment
costs, researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU)
The study was published in Environmental Science & Technology and conducted by researchers at the BGU Zuckerberg
Institute for Water Research, the BGU Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences and the Israel Geological Survey.
In the study, vertical wells were used to take samples from
the saline groundwater. All the wells were a maximum of 300
feet (100 meters) from the shoreline. Researchers said that other saline groundwater benefits include consistent annual water
temperatures, and lower levels of dissolved oxygen, silt density
and phytoplankton. It also decreases the cost of desalination,
“Decision-makers in both California and Israel can use this
research to seriously consider saline groundwater as a realistic
alternative when planning future large-scale seawater desalina-tion facilities,” explained Dr. Roni Kasher, a senior lecturer in
the BGU Zuckerberg Institute’s Department of Desalination and
Water Treatment. “In Israel, seawater desalination accounts for
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SALINE GROUNDWATER BETTER OPTION FOR DESALINATION, FINDS STUDY