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World water sources are mainly salty
(97.5%) and fresh water (2.5%). Salty water is found in oceans, seas and some
lakes while fresh water is either stored underground (30%) or in the form of
ice / snow covering mountainous regions, Antarctic and Arctic (70%) but only
0.3% is usable by humans 1. Under the current economic and population growth
as well as the prospective environmental challenges, Egypt is facing serious
water scarcity issue rapidly. Water availability per capita rate is already one
of the lowest in the world, where it was declined from 853.5 m3 in 2002
to 785.4 m3 in 2007 and reached 722.2 m3 in 2012. This is
predicted to reach 534 m3 by 2030 which is below the scarcity rate
2.

With this limited amount of usable
fresh water, directing efforts towards non-conventional water sources such as,
water recycling, reuse of drainage water, treated industrial and sewage
effluents, rainfall harvesting, and desalination must be considered.
Desalination in particular provides a short term solution to the water shortage
problem. During the second half of the twentieth century, desalination of
seawater proved to be the most practical and in many cases the only possible
solution for many countries around the globe, i.e., the Gulf States,
Mediterranean and Caribbean Islands 3. In Egypt desalination can be used as a
sustainable water resource for domestic use in many parts, since it has about
2,400 km of shorelines on both the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea 4. The
real experience in desalination in Egypt began in the mid-1970s. Due to vast
urban expansion, mainly along the coastal areas, and the on-going developments
in remote areas, water desalination became competitive and safer than water
transportation for very long distances 2. Desalination process separates
saline seawater into two streams: a fresh water stream containing a low
concentration of dissolved salts and a concentrated brine stream. The process
requires some form of energy to desalinate, and utilizes several different technologies
for separation. Although the desalination technologies are mature enough to be
a reliable source for fresh water from the sea, a significant amount of
research and development (R&D) has been carried out in order to constantly
improve the technologies and reduce the cost of desalination 1.

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