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Initially the production of drinking water from seawater was done with evaporators. This is a high-temperature distillation process: seawater is boiled until it forms vapor. On cooling of the vapor pure water is won. The residual product is warm water with a high concentration of salt. Discharges of this warm water in the sea proved to be harmful to marine life.
Thanks to the advent of ‘reversed osmosis’ technique, the production of water on Bonaire has become far more sustainable. Reversed osmosis entails that the seawater is pressed through a membrane under high pressure. The membrane filters the water and captures all residues. Next, the water passes through a second membrane. As a result it becomes extremely pure, with a minimum amount of residual salts (5-10 mg/l).
With reversed osmosis no warm water is discharged into the sea. In addition the installation requires less space and its energy consumption is lower.