Desalination is a separation process used to reduce the dissolved salt content of saline water to a usable level. All desalination processes involve three liquid streams: the saline feedwater (brackish water or seawater), low-salinity product water, and very saline concentrate (brine or reject water).
The saline feedwater is drawn from oceanic or underground sources. It is separated by the desalination process into the two output streams: the low-salinity product water and very saline concentrate streams. The use of desalination overcomes the paradox faced by many coastal communities, that of having access to a practically inexhaustible supply of saline water but having no way to use it. Although some substances dissolved in water, such as calcium carbonate, can be removed by chemical treatment, other common constituents, like sodium chloride, require more technically sophisticated methods, collectively known as desalination. In the past, the difficulty and expense of removing various dissolved salts from water made saline waters an impractical source of potable water. However, starting in the 1950s, desalination began to appear to be economically practical for ordinary use, under certain circumstances.
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