India Desalination Market May Expand Threefold by 2019

The desalination business in India may grow threefold to $1.9 billion within five years, spurred by industrial demand, urban sprawl and freshwater scarcity concerns, according to a research report.

The south Asian nation may account for 14 percent of the global desalination market by 2019 as it builds on the 183 desalination plants currently operating across India, TechSci Research, based in Noida near New Delhi, said in its report.

India draws 230 cubic kilometers of groundwater a year, more than a quarter of the planet’s total with agriculture using the most, then industry, World Bank data shows. Available freshwater in India, with about 18 percent of the world’s population, fell to 1,845 cubic meters in 2007 from 6,042 cubic meters per person in 1947, according to the government.

The expected decline to water-scarce levels below 1,000 cubic meters by the end of this century prompted Prime Minister Narendra Modi to revive a 30-year-old plan to link 14 Himalayan and 16 peninsular rivers.

Southern India is expected to see the highest number of new desalination plants, TechSci said in the September report. It listed four plants of 500 million liters (132 million gallons) of daily capacity planned by Tamil Nadu’s state government.

“Desalination plant installers in India are developing low-cost solutions” that’s expected to result in more innovation in desalination plant technologies, said Karan Chechi, research director with TechSci.

Power generators accounted for 18 percent of the desalination capacity in India, the highest after local city governments, according to the report. India made investments worth $129 million building the current desalination capacity, it said.

The market for desalination in India, which has a coastline of 7,517 kilometers (4,672 miles), is currently worth about $660 million, according to TechSci.

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